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Criminals Cost Kiwi's $20 Million A Month

Burglary, vandalism, and vehicle-related crime – committed against ordinary New Zealanders homes and cars resulted in insurance claims of nearly half a billion dollars since 1999.

New information released by the Insurance Council today reveals insured New Zealanders have claimed nearly $20 million dollars a month over the past two years for burglary, vandalism and vehicle-related crime.

The Insurance Council figures come from the Insurance Claims Register, which is a database recording claims and why they were made.

The figures dramatically illustrate the impact criminals are having on people in their own homes.

"Crime and criminals are costing us hundreds of millions of dollars. New Zealanders must begin looking for solutions," said Chris Ryan Chief Executive of the Insurance Council.

"The figures released today only show the effect of crime on those people who have insurance, therefore they are very conservative. The cost of crime is far greater."

"This is without even factoring in the emotional and social cost to people whose homes have been invaded", he said.

During the last two years crime against private homes and the personal property they contained resulted in claims of nearly $300,000,000. Burglary and theft accounted for the largest proportion of these claims.

Over the same period $163,000,000 of claims were made for stolen and vandalised private vehicles.

Insurers have worked hard with the New Zealand Police to address the high incidence of crime against personal property in homes and private cars. To their credit, Police now focus a significant portion of their efforts on reducing the impact of burglary and theft on ordinary New Zealanders. This long-term programme is beginning to produce worthwhile results.

The Insurance Council and Police introduced Operation SNAP in Auckland in 1999. Under this scheme, insurers provide the Police with the serial numbers of appliances and other personal property stolen from clients’ homes, enabling Police to identify the owners of recovered goods. With the assistance of second-hand dealers, Operation SNAP has been able to markedly reduce the opportunities for criminals to sell stolen goods on the ‘black’ market in Auckland.

Insurers are also supporting Police Law Enforcement Teams. These teams are dedicated to investigating specific types of crime. The North Shore/Waitakere Law Enforcement Team works in conjunction with insurers to investigate house burglaries and vehicle-related crimes. This team has recently enjoyed considerable success. Insurers will continue to give Police assistance and resources to allow them to expand this type of operation.

"The Insurance Council applauds the recent results achieved by the Police in their effort to minimise burglary and crime against ordinary New Zealanders. Nevertheless, the incidence of crime against personal property is colossal. Neither the Police, nor the Government, can lose sight of that fact. After all, people in their homes don’t."

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