2002-12-07 / Community

Queens Car Thefts Down, DA Says

Queens Car Thefts Down, DA Says

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today that vehicle thefts in Queens County are continuing a remarkable downward plunge.

District Attorney Brown said, "Ten years ago in Queens County we had 52,000 vehicles reported stolen. Last year -- through the efforts of police, prosecutors and the insurance industry -- we reduced that number to 10,000.  This year we expect to drop to a little over 9,000.  That's an 82% reduction in the number of vehicles reported stolen in Queens County over the last decade. By any standard of measure that is solid progress."

According to the District Attorney, despite the decrease in auto theft, insurance rates have continued to increase.

District Attorney Brown explained, "The reason lies in the disturbing increase in recent years in insurance fraud -- staged accidents, medical mills that exaggerate -- or outright falsify -- claims of physical injury and cases in which vehicle owners "give up" their vehicles to fraud rings and then falsely report that they have been stolen."

Last month the District Attorney's Rackets Bureau again teamed up with New York Police Department's Auto Crime Division in a joint automobile theft and insurance fraud "sting" operation.  The investigation resulted in charges involving 71 individuals -- including 29 vehicle owners who allegedly falsely reported their vehicles stolen to obtain insurance settlements -- and the recovery of 43 vehicles valued at over $1 million.

District Attorney Brown said, "Once again police and prosecutors delivered the goods on another million-dollar auto insurance fraud, auto theft chop-shop case. We have done over a dozen of these crackdowns since 1991. Some involved steal to order rings, some involved drop offs for cash in which defendants unknowingly gave up their vehicles to undercover police officers and then filed fraudulent insurance claims asserting that their vehicles had been stolen."

The crackdown reported last month used undercover detectives who set up an auto towing and wrecking  garage in Howard Beach that was a virtual motor vehicle fraud drive-in center. The illegal transactions were audio and video taped. 

Auto crime stats through the end of November 2002 show that countywide 8,204 vehicles have been reported stolen -- 3,584 in Queens South and 4,620 in Queens North.  Last year, countywide through the month of November there were 9,631 vehicles reported stolen -* 4,170 in Queens South and 5,461 in Queens North. These stats show an overall countywide decline this year to date of 14.81% -- 14% in Queens South and 15.4% in Queens North.
 
Queens County Vehicle Theft Stats 

Year      Vehicles        Percentage
Stolen
1990      50,239           -------
1991      49,834          00.08%
1992      47,033          05.62%
1993      43,086          08.39%
1994      35,312          18.04%
1995      26,587          24.71%
1996      22,144          16.72%
1997      19,938          09.96%
1998      16,111          19.19%
1999      14,109          12.43%
2000      12,406          12.07%
2001      10,425          15.97%
2002*      8,204          14.81%

*Through December 1, 2002


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