(TRENTON) – Seeking to protect all of New Jersey’s residents, Assemblywomen Yvonne Lopez, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Angela McKnight sponsored legislation requiring any information relating to any crimes committed against the elderly or disabled be included in the annual report the Attorney General prepares for the Governor and Legislature. The bill cleared the full Assembly Monday by a 75-0-0 vote.
“We must recognize that elderly and disabled populations in New Jersey are often maliciously targeted for wrongdoing,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “We must do everything we can to learn exactly what injustices elderly and disabled New Jerseyans face in order to help protect them and ensure they receive the justice they deserve.”
The bill (A-4547) would require all local and county and police authorities to submit a quarterly report to the Attorney General which contains the number and nature of offenses committed against the elderly and disabled within their respective jurisdictions.
Under current law, local and county law enforcement submit such information relating to criminal street gang activities, information relating to any offense directed against a person or group, or their property, by reason of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity.
“By including crimes against the elderly and disabled in the Attorney General’s annual report, this bill will allow us to better understand the obstacles facing these individuals,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Hopefully, a comprehensive review will point us in the right direction and show us where improvements are needed.”
“Elderly and Disabled people are, unfortunately, targeted and mistreated by some bad people in our state who believe they can take advantage of them,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “With this bill, we can grasp exactly what kind, and how many, hardships these populations can be forced to endure, and I have no doubts it will show us how to best aid them.”
The bill initially cleared the Assembly Human Services Committee on January 24 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.