N.Y.’s $5M in Grants to Combat Auto Theft, Insurance Fraud

January 15, 2006

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services has awarded more than $5 million to 29 law enforcement agencies in 16 counties throughout the state to support local programs to combat motor vehicle theft and prevent insurance fraud.

The grants, which were awarded through a competitive process, are designed to assist counties that have not fully benefited from the overall reduction in motor vehicle theft over the past decade.

“For years New York State has been providing local law enforcement with additional resources to combat motor vehicle theft and prevent insurance fraud. Since the program began in 1996, more than $31 million has been provided to counties across New York State,” Governor George Pataki said. “These resources have helped our law enforcement drive down motor vehicle theft to an all time low. I know that if we continue to work together and provide the necessary resources to our local partners, we will be able to further reduce auto theft and help New Yorkers save millions of dollars in auto insurance payments.”

New York officials say the state is making progress in reducing motor vehicle theft. According to FBI statistics, motor vehicle thefts in New York State have declined by 68 percent since 1994. New York City, which experienced the highest number of motor vehicle thefts, has seen a decline of 78 percent over the last 11 years.

In 2004, the New York State Insurance Department reported that the number of suspected fraudulent motor vehicle insurance claims decreased by 14 percent, with the number of reported incidents dropping from 24,282 in 2003 to 19,580. In addition, no-fault insurance reports, which account for 73 percent of all suspected insurance fraud claims throughout the state, decreased by 17 percent.

Between 2003 and 2004, motor vehicle theft incidents in New York State decreased by 9.8 percent, with 4,400 fewer motor vehicle thefts reported.

In addition, from December 31, 2002 to June 30, 2004 the average personal injury claim dropped from $8,489 to $6,229, and now New Yorkers are paying less for car insurance. On Dec. 31, 2002 approximately 86 cents of every dollar paid for car insurance was going to pay for insurance claims. By June 30, 2004, only about 61 cents of every dollar paid was applied to insurance claims, state officials report.

The $5.3 million in grants will be used to assist local law enforcement with a number of initiatives including enhanced enforcement and prosecution, undercover sting operations and specialized training for prosecutors and police officers.

Source: The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

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