Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell 
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov

For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 31, 2010

 

NYS awards more than $3.7 million in grants to combat motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud

Incidences of theft down nearly 90 percent statewide since 1990

New York State is on pace to experience its 11th consecutive year in which reported motor vehicle thefts have declined, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

To further drive down thefts by enhancing investigation and prosecution of those cases as well as reports of motor vehicle-related insurance fraud, DCJS recently awarded nearly $3.7 million in grants to 28 district attorney’s offices, police departments, sheriff’s offices and training organizations across the state.

The agencies use the grants in a variety of ways, including to fund either all or a portion of the salaries of assistant district attorneys and investigators specifically assigned to handle motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud cases, pay overtime for enhanced enforcement and sting operations and offer specialized training for prosecutors, police officers and investigators.

“The state’s Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program is a great example of how a targeted investment of state resources has paid tremendous dividends,” DCJS Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne said. “Reports of motor vehicle theft statewide declined 88 percent from 1990 through 2009, the largest decrease of any of the seven index crimes. During these difficult fiscal times, it is critical to ensure that we are getting returns on the state’s investments, and this program clearly illustrates that we are making a difference.”

From January through October 2010 as compared to the same timeframe last year, reported motor vehicle thefts in the 57 counties outside of New York City have decreased 9.4 percent (7,900 vs. 8,718). And through Dec. 12, the New York City Police Department is reporting a 2 percent decline in auto theft. Statewide, the number of thefts reported annually has declined every year since 2000. Since 1990, motor vehicle thefts are down 88.4 percent (186,741 in 1990 vs. 21,760 in 2009).

The suspected incidence of motor vehicle insurance fraud had decreased by nearly 33 percent from 2003 to 2007, but it has been on the rise the past two years. There were 13,368 incidents of suspected fraud reported in 2009, nearly a 7 percent increase over the year before, according to the state Insurance Department.

The Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program is overseen by a 12-member board that develops the state’s strategy for combating motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud, in addition to reviewing grant applications and making the grant awards. DCJS serves as the staff for the board and administers the grant program, which targets the state’s urban centers and is funded through a $10 fee assessed on insurance policies issued for vehicles registered in the state.
 
This is the 14th year the grants have been available. The following organizations and agencies received grants:

Statewide Training Grants

  • New York Anti-Car Theft and Fraud Association and the New York State Prosecutors’ Training Institute: $47,500 each.

New York City

  • New York City Police Department: a total of $356,000 to three specialized units (Auto Crime Division, Auto Larceny Units and Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad)
  • Queens County District Attorney’s Office: $480,000
  • Bronx County District Attorney’s Office: $248,000
  • New York County District Attorney’s Office: $240,000
  • Kings County District Attorney’s Office: $200,000
  • Richmond County District Attorney’s Office: $85,000

Long Island

  • Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office: $300,000
  • Nassau County District Attorney’s Office: $160,000
  • Nassau County Police Department: $125,000
  • Suffolk County Police Department: $117,450
  • Hempstead Village Police Department: $25,000

Hudson Valley

  • Westchester County District Attorney’s Office: $275,000
  • Yonkers Police Department: $130,000

Capital Region

  • Albany County District Attorney’s Office: $93,000
  • Albany Police Department: $39,500
  • Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office: $45,000

Central New York

  • Syracuse Police Department: $34,000

Western New York

  • Niagara County District Attorney’s Office: $152,261
  • Erie County District Attorney’s Office: $117,500
  • Monroe County District Attorney’s Office: $143,000
  • Buffalo Police Department: $111,953
  • Rochester Police Department: $44,336
  • Monroe County Sheriff’s Department: $32,000
  • Cheektowaga Police Department: $45,500
  • Niagara Falls Police Department: $35,000
  • Niagara County Sheriff’s Department: $19,500

The state Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender.