STATEN ISLAND, NY – Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) on October 21 joined Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, New York State Senator Andrew Lanza, and New York City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to change New York’s Green Light Law to allow federal access to Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records to combat the recent spike in car thefts conducted by transnational criminal organizations in New York City.
New York’s Green Light law prohibits the DMV from sharing information with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The only way CBP can access information is if a federal judge signs a judicial warrant or court order. Without access to DMV data, CPB is limited in its ability to see DWI charges and traffic-related misdemeanors, and cannot identify or authenticate vehicles at ports.
“New York State is the only state that restricts Customs and Border Protection access to their data across the board,” Congresswoman Malliotakis said. “There are transitional criminal organizations that are stealing our vehicles, driving them over the bridge to New Jersey, putting them on the ports, and shipping them out to wherever there’s demand. I’ve met with the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection about this, and they say the lack of access to the DMV records is part of the problem. Organized crime units are forging counterfeit titles and registrations in order to get past customs and without access to DMV data, CBP does not have adequate resources to identify and authenticate vehicles at our ports.”
According to NYPD CompStat, New York City has seen a 36 percent increase in auto grand larceny thefts since 2021, with 10,724 vehicles stolen citywide. Staten Island has seen an 85% increase in auto thefts, the largest percentage increase of all the boroughs, with 365 vehicles stolen this year. According to CBP, as of April, 115 stolen vehicles were recovered within New York City ports with approximately 74 stolen vehicles destined for various West African countries and 40 stolen vehicles headed for the Dominican Republic. These numbers are on pace to far exceed the 174 vehicles that were recovered in all of FY21.
Malliotakis has introduced H.R.9107, the States Helping Apprehend Rogue Exports (SHARE) Act, which would require states like New York to enter into a data-sharing agreement with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Transportation in order to be eligible for certain port grant programs. Malliotakis has also partnered with Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon in requesting that the U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, and the District of New Jersey establish a task force to assist the NYPD with the sharp rise in transnational grand theft auto crimes in New York City.
Malliotakis added: “We’re asking for Governor Hochul to restore access for the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to the DMV’s database so they can do their jobs. It’s critically important for our federal law enforcement to have access to this data. The Green Light Law, coupled with New York’s radical bail law has been a disaster for public safety and it’s truly the cause of why we’re seeing such a sharp uptick in car thefts across our community.”