Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will provide nearly $4 million in grant funding to 29 organizations statewide through its Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program, administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The program targets the state’s urban centers and is funded through a $10 fee assessed on insurance policies issued for vehicles registered in the state.
Grants will be used to fund salaries for assistant district attorneys and investigators assigned to handle motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud cases; enhanced enforcement and sting operations; and for specialized training for prosecutors, police officers and investigators.
Grants awarded in the Western New York region include: Erie County District Attorney’s Office, $120,700; Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, $152,100; Buffalo Police Department, $121,000; Cheektowaga Police Department, $48,000; Niagara Falls Police Department, $36,500; and Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, $21,500.
Statewide grants include $57,000 for the New York Anti-Car Theft and Fraud Association; and $31,900 to the New York State Prosecutor’s Training Institute.
Motor vehicle theft has been steadily declining in New York, according to the governor’s office, with the number of motor vehicle thefts in New York declining 90 percent since 1997.
In 2012, 18,677 incidents of suspected motor vehicle insurance fraud were reported to the Insurance Frauds Bureau of the state Department of Financial Services, a 9 percent increase over 2011, when 17,121 suspected incidents of fraud were reported.