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Insurers Praise Police/ Government Success

The Insurance Council has praised the success of both the Government and police for provisional figures indicating a dramatic decrease in crime, particularly for burglary and car theft in New Zealand.

The Insurance Council believes the New Zealand Police, under new Police Commissioner Rob Robinson, are now making significant inroads into crime, particularly in the areas of home burglaries, theft of motor vehicles and theft-to-order operations.

Each year insurers pay out over $400 million in claims for motor vehicles alone. A significant proportion of these claims directly result from the actions of criminals.

"Although there are regional fluctuations, insurers are noting that claims for motor vehicle theft and burglaries of people's homes in some regions of New Zealand are now static. In other regions, it appears that claims may even be declining," said Chris Ryan, Chief Executive of the Insurance Council.

"It is a tribute to both the effectiveness of the New Zealand Police, and the law and order strategy that has been put in place by the current Government to address the burglary crime-wave in New Zealand," said Chris Ryan.

Mr Ryan says recent strategic initiatives between the Insurance Council and the New Zealand Police have been important. These initiatives have included Operation SNAP, a scheme aimed at preventing the resale of stolen property. A Memorandum of Understanding to increase co-operation between the Insurance Council and Police has also been signed.

"The Insurance Council believes the current Government is showing real commitment, through its justice and police portfolios, to making New Zealand a safer place in which to live", said Mr Ryan.

Insurance Council members have noticed a steady increase in burglaries and theft from homes and motor vehicles in recent years. Investigations have frequently indicated that young offenders between the ages of 10 to 16 are committing large numbers of thefts. Often these children move on in the escalating scale of crime to assaults, sexual offending and potentially even murder.

The co-ordinated package of initiatives being implemented by the Government to reduce youth crime will be beneficial to all New Zealanders. In particular, the Government appears to be committed to a sustained effort to reduce the likelihood of children finding a career in crime and beginning criminal activities at an early age.

"These initiatives being implemented by both the Minister of Justice Phil Goff and the Minister of Police George Hawkins, suggest an increased emphasis on seeking long-term solutions to law and order problems in New Zealand," said Chris Ryan.

Last year Insurance Council members paid claims of $1 billion to New Zealanders. Insurance Council members paid out $456 million for claims on motor vehicles and a further $258 million for personal property claims and losses relating to people's homes.

Insurance Council Chief Executive Chris Ryan says these sorts of claims show the huge losses that ordinary New Zealanders can incur as a result of the activities of criminals.

"Burglary is not a petty crime, and is one of the crimes most feared by New Zealanders. The reduction in crime rates announced today begins to the balance back in favour of law-abiding New Zealanders."

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