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Don't forget the basics too, Helen

Tony Ryall National Party Police Spokesperson

30 January 2002

Don't forget the basics too, Helen

The Government's spend up on counter-terrorism is commendable, but there are more practical safety concerns for New Zealanders, says National's Police spokesperson Tony Ryall.

"On the same morning that the Government pledges $30 million dollars to keep out terrorists, we hear that huge increases in car thefts may cause higher insurance premiums for car owners.

"Protecting New Zealand from terrorists is an important priority, but if money is so easy to find, why are our police so cash strapped?

"Under Labour we've seen intakes of new recruits cancelled, police stations earmarked for closure, and huge increases in violent crime. Now some insurers in the Auckland region are reporting average car thefts are up 50% on the same time last year.

"If the Government is serious about making New Zealanders feel safe, properly resourcing police and maintaining a presence to deter criminals would a good way to start," says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

Attachment: Insurance Council press release 30th January 2001

30 January 2002

DRAMATIC RISE IN VEHICLE THEFTS

A dramatic rise in the theft of motor vehicles, particularly in Auckland over the last six months, is concerning the Insurance Council.

The Insurance Council today voiced its concern that the rate of theft of New Zealanders' motor vehicles is again rising. Some insurers are now reporting average thefts up over 50% on the same time last year in the Auckland region.

This appears to be a very strong trend in the Auckland region but is also appearing in Wellington and Christchurch. Cars being stolen include high performance vehicles but also unsecured vehicles that are being attacked by opportunistic thieves.

The Insurance Council Chief Executive Chris Ryan, says insurers believe many high value, high performance motor cars are being stolen to order possibly by some form of organised crime rings.

Insurers say the theft of motor vehicles increasing at such a significant rate should raise concerns for all New Zealanders particularly in light of the current political debate on law and order. The issue of burglary within law and order policy is a critical one for New Zealanders. Consistently New Zealanders have identified burglary of their homes and theft of their motor vehicles as a key consideration within the law and order agenda.

The Insurance Council believes most major political parties have now formed a degree of consensus on a tougher approach to murderers, rapists and repeat violent offenders. However, the issue for many ordinary New Zealanders, is the security of their home, their property and their motor vehicle.

The Insurance Council estimates 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 is calling on all New Zealanders to increase vigilance in their neighbourhoods and to ensure cars are secured and parked under lit areas or off the road to reduce the incidence of theft.

Insurance Council Chief Executive Chris Ryan says recent figures show the police have been doing a particularly good job in reducing the burglary rates in New Zealand. However, Insurance Council members are now indicating they are seeing a very significant increase in the theft of motor cars, particularly in the Auckland region. "This is something a government of any persuasion must keep in mind when creating a law and order strategy."

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.

The figures come from the Council's 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 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.

ENDS


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