EXCLUSIVE FROM THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pols pushing for changes to city and state laws after Daily News expose that crimes on Rikers inflate insurance costs

 

    EXCLUSIVE: Pols pushing for changes to city and state laws after Daily News expose that crimes on Rikers inflate insurance costs

    Following an expose last week by the News, state Sen. Ruben Diaz introduced a bill Wednesday that would force insurers to exclude statistics from corrections facilities when basing premiums on an area’s overall crime rate.

    By Denis Slattery / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Friday, January 24, 2014, 2:30 AM

    State Sen. Ruben Diaz introduced a bill that would force insurers to exclude statistics from corrections facilities when basing premiums on an area’s overall crime rate.

    They're calling for an insurance lockdown.

    Inflated insurance rates in Hunts Point and Longwood — artificially pumped up thanks to a tenuous geographical connection to Rikers Island crime — have a pair of peeved politicians pushing for changes to city and state laws.

    Following an expose last week by the News, state Sen. Ruben Diaz introduced a bill Wednesday that would force insurers to exclude statistics from corrections facilities when basing premiums on an area’s overall crime rate.

    “I was shocked when I read the story because I never knew that the statistics were included — that’s outrageous,” said Diaz of the Jan. 15 Daily News exclusive.

     

    Julia Robertson/AP

    Crimes committed within the Rikers Island Penal Complex in New York’s East River are added to the compstat statistics for the 41st Precinct in the Bronx.

    The 400-acre penitentiary is considered part of the Bronx as far as crime statistics are concerned — even though the borough has a Queens zip code, officials said.

    Insurers often base monthly premiums for car and homeowner insurance on long-term crime trends.

    RELATED: RIKERS INMATES COSTING THE BRONX DEARLY

    “Its outrageous that people are being penalized,” Diaz said. “We need to force the insurance companies to be realistic about how they determine what they charge.”

     

    EMMANUEL DUNAND

    Rikers crime stats inflated insurance rates for residents of the South Bronx.

    To make matters worse, 256,544 South Bronx residents — or about 38% of the region — was living below the poverty line, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2010.

    “This is one of the poorest congressional districts but we have some of the highest insurance rates,” fumed Rafael Salamanca, district manager of Community Board 2.

    Assemblyman Marcos Crespo sponsored a bill last year that would have separated all correctional facilities statistics out of the NYPD numbers. The legislation fell apart, but Crespo will likely introduce the Diaz bill in the House.

    Crime in the 41st Precinct jumped a whopping 26% in 2013 due to the addition of 367 crimes that took place on Rikers Island — yet overall crime is up just 1% from last year, according to NYPD statistics released earlier this month.

    Diaz hopes the legislation will help change attitudes about the Bronx and how people view Hunts Point and Longwood.

    “We are not burning — we’re getting safer as a borough,” said Diaz. “These statistics are not what’s really happening here, and it makes the Bronx look bad.”

    dslattery@nydailynews.com