EDITOR'S NOTE: One incident has been removed from this report due to the age of those involved.
LIVINGSTON, NJ — In addition to beginning its annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign this week, the Livingston Police Department has also responded to reports of residential and vehicle burglaries, one stolen vehicle and more over the last week.
On the same evening, Livingston police responded to a residential burglar alarm at 47 Westmount Drive around 8:18 p.m. While checking the house, officers found the back door unlocked and checked inside the house, where they found muddy footprints leading into the home and up to the bedrooms.
According to police, the officers found evidence that someone had rummaged through the bedrooms and requested a Morris County K-9 unit to search the area after clearing the house. The dog led officers through the woods behind the home and out onto Grasmere Court, where police believe a car was waiting.
Police noted that a large quantity of jewelry was found to be missing from the home and are asking that anyone who may have seen something suspicious in the area between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night to call Det. Wyatt at (973) 992-3000 ext. 3226.
Vehicles entered and one stolen overnight:
During the overnight hours between May 16 and May 17, vehicles were entered on North Ridge Road as well as on Mounthaven Drive during the overnight hours between May 19 and May 20. Credit cards were stolen from these vehicles, police said.
Sometime overnight between May 18 and May 19, police said a 2015 Chevy Tahoe was stolen from a Bristol Court residence while the keys were inside. The vehicle was recovered in Newark by Livingston police on the afternoon of May 19.
Stolen property arrest:
A Livingston police officer working the “Click It or Ticket” campaign stopped a car for several equipment violations at approximately 3:40 p.m. on South Orange Avenue. During the stop, Chanel Cutler, 24, of Long Branch, was found to have a suspended driver’s license, and a passenger identified as Fred Anderson, 27, of Neptune, was found to have a $2,000 warrant from Colts Neck.
Further investigation revealed that Cutler, Anderson and a second female passenger, Ahdaizjah Bellamy, 23, of Asbury Park, were in possession of stolen property from Zumiez and American Eagle at the Livingston Mall along with Pink and Forever 21 in the Short Hills Mall. According to police, the total value of merchandise was $510. A magnet commonly used to remove inventory control tags was also found in the car.
All three individuals were charged with four counts of receiving stolen property. In addition, Cutler was charged with possessing an anti-shoplifting countermeasure device and several traffic violations. All were released on summonses pending court action.
Click It or Ticket Campaign, May 20 to June 2:
As of Monday, the Livingston Police Department has begun cracking down on unbuckled motorists and passengers as part of the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign.
From now through June 2, this program will utilize high-visibility seatbelt checkpoints and saturation patrols in combination with local and statewide publicity efforts to reiterate the lifesaving value of seatbelts, according to police.
"Using a seat belt is the simplest way for motor vehicle occupants to protect themselves on the road," said Eric Heitmann, director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. "Crash statistics show that between 2013 and 2017, seatbelt use saved nearly 69,000 lives nationally."
A key focus of New Jersey's campaign this year is to promote seatbelt usage by adults in all seating positions in the vehicle, meaning both front and rear seats.
According to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the front seatbelt usage rate in New Jersey currently stands at 94.47 percent. However, a recent survey also found that adults riding in rear seats are using seatbelts at a significantly lower rate of only 48 percent.
"For whatever reason, there seems to be a disconnect with people feeling they don't need to buckle up when riding as passengers in rear seats, and this is a concern," said Heitmann. "By promoting back-seat usage of seatbelts during our Click It or Ticket campaign, we are encouraging passenger habits that will save lives."
During last year's campaign, 357 New Jersey police agencies participated in the two-week initiative that resulted in an issuance of 19,659 seatbelt citations, 4,437 speeding summonses and 661 impaired driving arrests.
The information provided above was compiled through a weekly dialogue with Livingston police.