Auto theft task force formed

After touring an anti-vehicle-theft program operated by Southern Nevada law enforcement, Gov. Jim Gibbons announced Monday he will form a task force to address fraud and auto theft in Nevada.

The VIPER program puts out "bait cars" to catch car thieves. The program was created to reduce the number of thefts in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area, which was ranked No. 1 for vehicle theft last year.

Gibbons said he wants that ranking erased and wants the task force to take a statewide approach to do so.

"Auto theft and insurance fraud function to create a virtual 'crime tax' on Nevada consumers," said Gibbons in announcing the task force.

He said theft and fraud combine to raise insurance rates by hundreds of dollars. He said reducing the number of those crimes will cut insurance costs for all Nevadans.

He called on The Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Task Force to develop innovative ways of reducing auto theft in the state.

"In some cases, cars are being stolen just to get from one end of town to the other, and nearly one car per day is torched in Clark County," said Gibbons.

While theft and fraud are different issues, he said insurance fraud is also costing the average car owner money so he said the task force must look into that as well. He said he will appoint members from federal, state and local agencies, the insurance industry, collision repair, medical and legal communities.

Task force membership will be announced in the near future.

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