Wilson Bill to Make Defacing Historic Buildings in NJ a Third Degree Crime Released by Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson sponsored to make the defacement of a historic building a third degree crime was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

“New Jersey is cloaked in history and we have a responsibility to preserve it,” said Wilson. “Our historic buildings and structures are not only a testament to our past, but attractive destinations for heritage tourism enthusiasts. This bill can help preserve these structures for the enjoyment of residents and visitors by making the deliberate damage of a historical structure a third degree crime.”

The bill (A-1969) clarifies that criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor knowingly damages, interferes, or tampers with a “historic building, monument or structure.” The penalty for a third degree crime is 3 to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

The bill defines “historic building, monument or structure” as a structure that has been determined to be potentially eligible for inclusion in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, has been recognized as a place of historic interest in a county or municipal master plan, or meets any other criteria adopted by the State Agriculture Development Committee for recognizing the historical value or significance of a building or structure on farmland.

The bill was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.