Press Release - 11-15-2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, November 15, 2018
DMV TRAINS LAW ENFORCEMENT ON VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION TAMPERING TO CRACK DOWN ON AUTO THEFTS STATEWIDE
New York Vehicle Thefts Remain Below National Average
52 Percent Reduction in Thefts Between 2007 to 2017
Today the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the New York Anti Car Theft Committee and Fraud Association (NYACT), along with law enforcement partners, provided critical training to more than 100 state and local law enforcement officers on vehicle identification number (VIN) tampering. The classroom and hands-on training is an important consumer protection tool that strengthens law enforcement’s ability to crack down on auto thefts statewide through investigations and ongoing patrols. This is the third year the DMV and NYACT have partnered to host the training, which was held today at the Westchester County Office of Emergency Management.
“Ensuring that our partners in law enforcement have the most up-to-date training in auto theft prevention and recovery is beneficial to all New Yorkers,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “It safeguards unsuspecting consumers from being victimized and helps keep insurance rates from skyrocketing. Through trainings like these, our commitment to combatting auto thefts has helped New York stay well below the national average each year, and we look forward to building on that progress in the years to come.”
David Grafmuller, NYACT Chairman, said, “As NYACT celebrates its 40th Anniversary we are proud to have been able to partner with law enforcement to facilitate training that helps in the prevention, identification and prosecution of auto crime in New York State. This training continues that effort and will ultimately help to contain insurance premium cost for the consumers in New York.”
The annual specialized training was conducted by experts from the DMV Division of Field Investigation, auto theft investigators from the New York State Police Auto Theft Unit, NYPD Auto Crime, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Participants were instructed on how to spot a tampered VIN and what to look for when conducting auto theft investigations or while on patrol. Attendees also physically examined multiple stolen, retagged vehicles with counterfeit or reaffixed VINs, Federal Warranty Labels, and Anti-Theft stickers.
The training is supported by a grant provided to the NYACT from the Division of Criminal Justice Services through the state’s Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program. NYACT’s funding is part of the total $3.7 million provided through the program to police, fire, and sheriffs’ departments, district attorneys’ offices in 12 counties, and the New York State Prosecutors Training Institute.
These grants allow these agencies to have dedicated personnel and resources to investigate and prosecute motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud. Funding for the program comes from a $10 fee assessed on insurance policies issued for vehicles registered in the state.
New York’s efforts to prevent and reduce auto thefts are working. The number of vehicles stolen each year in New York has been steadily declining. In the last decade, there has been a 52 percent reduction in total auto thefts in New York from 28,029 in 2007 to 13,410 in 2017. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, New York’s rate of auto thefts is consistently below the national average. In 2017, there were approximately 68 thefts per 100,000 people in New York, compared to the national average of 247 thefts per 100,000 people.
It is also important that consumers understand New York’s VIN laws to further protect themselves. It is against the law to possess a motor vehicle or any part of a motor vehicle that has a VIN that is destroyed, altered, defaced, concealed, or removed. Law enforcement will confiscate any motor vehicle or motor vehicle part that is determined to have an altered or missing identification number.
Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, said, "Motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud can have an overwhelming effect on insurance rates for law-abiding vehicle owners and insurance policy holders across the state. Thanks in part to grants administered by Division of Criminal Justice Services, which helped make this training possible and also provide law enforcement agencies across the state with additional resources to target these crimes, New York continues to make great strides in reducing motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud."
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “This training is critically important for law enforcement agencies to stay ahead of criminals and recognize the methods they employ to illegally profit from stolen vehicles. We are committed to working with our partners to put the brakes on auto theft and protect all New Yorkers.”
Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., Westchester County District Attorney, said, “We thank the NYS DMV and NYACT for bringing this important training to Westchester County. It will be invaluable for our local police departments and our law enforcement partners as they continue to stem the tide of auto thefts across all of our cities, towns and villages.”
Established in 1978, its membership is comprised of representatives from most major insurance companies, law enforcement, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the New York State Insurance Department (NYSID), the New York State Police (NYSP), and other New York State Regulatory Agencies. Funded through members' dues and contributions, it was established to promote cooperation between the insurance industry, law enforcement, and other interested entities in the fight to reduce the escalating cost of vehicle theft and insurance fraud.
Photos from the training