Residents who evacuated the shore before the storm will have an added layer of police protection against looting.
The New Jersey State Police will be deploying troopers to the Barrier Island towns that were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Chris Christie's office announced in a press release Thursday.
State troopers will work with local and county agencies to provide an enhanced law enforcement presence at the shore. State Police will be on hand to protect the property of residents and merchants against potential looting or other crimes, while also providing additional resources and personnel if needed for any rescue and recovery operations, according to the release.
"As New Jersey continues to recover from this unprecedented disaster, many homes remain unsafe for habitation due to electric outages and property damage, particularly on the barrier islands,” said Governor Christie. “A general state of emergency declaration continues, and local evacuations and curfew orders remain in effect. Property owners who are prevented from returning home should know that troopers and other police are on alert for individuals breaking curfews."
Attorney General Jeff Chiesa promised that anyone who engages in looting will face serious penalties.
"We want those hardest hit by Sandy to know that there is an increased police presence in these Shore communities and that we will be vigilant with respect to their homes and businesses while they are forced to remain inland for their safety," Chiesa said. "At this time, fortunately, we have not received reports of any extensive looting."
Nearly 30 detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice have been involved in conducting security patrols in Monmouth County over the past 24 hours.
Members of the public who witness potential looters should call 911 with as much descriptive information as possible. Do not approach suspected thieves, but leave the apprehension to police.