BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In the last two years, more than 3,800 vehicles in Buffalo were broken into.
The arrest rate for these crimes is less than 14 percent.
Felony burglary charges cannot be filed on a vehicle break-in. Instead, they are treated as a larceny, which is treated as a misdemeanor under New York State law.
Erie County Legislator Peter Savage says “As a result of these lesser charges, there tends to be a revolving door through the criminal justice system.”
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says other states treat the break-ins as burglaries.
“Florida, Pennsylvania, other states, motor vehicles are allowed to be burglary offenses as well,” Flynn said. “So, the definition is what is going to drive this train here.”
Flynn and Savage want lawmakers in New York to change the state’s burglary statute to include vehicle break-ins.