Nevada auto theft-insurance fraud panel formed

Gov. Jim Gibbons said today he's forming a task force that will focus on organized insurance fraud and auto theft in Nevada.

The panel will try to determine the statewide scope of such problems and their affect on consumers, and review potential solutions.

Gibbons made the announcement following a tour of the southern Nevada-based Vehicle Investigations Project for Enforcement and Recovery, or VIPER, "bait" car program.

Under the VIPER program, "bait" cars are set up around the Las Vegas area with a hidden alarm and GPS system. If the vehicles are stolen, an alert is automatically sent to police who then can track down the car using satellite coordinates. The cars even have hidden cameras inside to catch the criminal in the act.

Last year, the Las Vegas area was ranked first in the nation for vehicle theft, and Gibbons said he wants to see that ranking erased.

Members of the state task force haven't been named yet. Gibbons said he'll seek representatives from federal, state and county agencies, along with insurance industry, collision repair, medical and legal representatives.


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