The LVMPD's Auto Theft Detail investigates airplane, boat, moped, motorcycle, and trailer thefts; embezzled vehicles; grand larceny and safekeeping of vehicles; and taking vehicle without owner's consent reports. Auto Theft handles on average more than 1,400 stolen vehicle cases a month and is dedicated to proactive investigations, apprehensions and prosecutions of all auto theft related cases.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a special detail within it's Property Crimes Section called VIPER. In 1999, the VIPER (Vehicle Investigations Project for Enforcement and Recovery) task force was created. VIPER is an undercover, multi-jurisdictional auto theft task force focusing on auto theft for profit cases. VIPER is comprised of LVMPD and other local law enforcement agencies. The focus of the task force is mainly organized theft operations, chop shops and vehicle dealerships (or repair shop) inspections (NRS. 481 Section 1).
Unfortunately, the crime of auto theft will eventually affect most people in this country. The Las Vegas Valley is no different than any other large metropolitan area but with its added 32 million-plus tourists annually, the problem can be magnified.
AUTO THEFT SAFETY TIPS
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VEHICLE HAS BEEN STOLEN
DON'T PANIC. PROMPTLY REPORT THE THEFT TO THE POLICE AND TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY (OR AGENT).
The following information will be needed to make a complete report. If you don't know all the information please provide what you can.
- Vehicle year
- Vehicle Make
- VIN #
- Color (Upper-Lower)
- License Plate
- Insurance Company
- Policy #
ALWAYS LOCK YOUR VEHICLE ... THIS REDUCES YOUR CHANCES OF BECOMING AN AUTO THEFT VICTIM BY MORE THAN 60%
The LVMPD has a recovery rate of 75% in terms of all vehicles stolen. Most are recovered within seven days.
IF YOU ROLL UP YOUR WINDOWS ... YOU HAVE REDUCED YOUR CHANCES OF AUTOTHEFT BY UP TO 20%
Currently, nationwide auto theft results in an estimated value of over $8 billion a year loss to consumers because of this crime.
REMOVING YOUR KEYS CAN REDUCE YOUR CHANCES OF BECOMING AN AUTO THEFT VICTIM BY UP TO 80%
Besides the obvious loss of a vehicle, we all feel the effects of this crime through our insurance premiums. In 1998, auto theft cost insurance companies and consumers $200 million. Nevada currently does not mandate an insurance discount for an anti-theft device, so please check with your insurer.
ANTI-THEFT DEVICE MAY DETER THOSE THIEVES LOOKING FOR TRANSPORTATION
Each year more than a million vehicles are stolen in the United States BB about one vehicle every 30 seconds. The crime is made simple because car owners do not take some necessary precautions. Most car thieves are amateurs who steal cars for transportation, i.e., "joy riding."
AVOID LEAVING YOUR CAR IN UNATTENDED PARKING LOTS FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. A BUSY PLACE OFFERS A NATURAL DETERRENT TO AUTO THEFT.
Anti-theft devices really work and most new cars now come with factory-installed theft devices. If your vehicle does not have a device, several are available on the market that provide the necessary protection. Many auto parts stores offer a variety of protection options such as steering wheel locks, remote fuel pump cutoff alarms, ignition cutoff switches, hood locks, voltage sensing device (which triggers an alarm when a power drain is detected), motion sensing devices (which are activated by any disruption in the sound wave pattern), to name a few.
CARJACKING is a violent crime that can occur ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, and TO ANYONE.
Remember, if you are confronted by a carjacker, do not resist, just get out of the car quickly! Nothing is more valuable than your life!
You can help protect yourself and your car by taking some simple precautions
- Walk with purpose. Always approach your car with your keys in hand.
- Pay attention to your surroundings, and be alert to nearby activity.
- Always check the back seat before opening your car.
- Be suspicious of anyone asking for directions or handing out fliers.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Look around and stay alert when you are stopped at an intersection.
- When stopping in traffic, leave enough distance between your car and the one in front of you so you can see their tires.
- Drive in the center lane to make it harder for a would-be carjacker to approach the car.
- Know your route. Use well-lighted streets and well-traveled roads whenever possible
- Don't drive without first locking your doors and closing your windows.
- Park in well-lighted areas, near sidewalks or walkways. Avoid parking near dumpster, woods, large vans or trucks, or anything else that limits your visibility. If possible, ask someone to walk with you to your car.
- Put valuables in your trunk or out of sight.
- Try to park in a garage with an attendant. Leave only your ignition key, with no identification.
- Don't get out of your car if you see suspicious people.
- To avoid other thefts that sometimes follow carjackings, separate your car keys from your house and office keys. In addition, do not leave your registration, insurance information, or any information identifying your home or work address in your glove box or car interior. Always keep that information on your person.
- Keep a good supply of gas in your tank and your car in good working condition.
- Above all, never leave a child unattended in your car - not even for a minute!
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF IT HAPPENS?
If someone demands, your car keys, don't argue and don't resist. Nothing is more valuable than your life!
- Get away from the area as quickly as possible.
- Dial the 911 emergency number and report the crime immediately. If you have a car or portable phone, it is a good idea to program a speed dial with the 911 emergency number.
- Try to remember as many details about the carjacker as possible: sex, race, age, hair & eye color, unusual features and clothing.
- If your house or office keys are taken, change the locks immediately. If a garage door opener is in the car, change the security code immediately.
By protecting your vehicle and being alert, you can be part of the solution, and you can save money on your insurance premiums.
DON'T BUY A STOLEN CAR--TIPS FOR YOUR PROTECTION
There are several things buyers should be aware of when making private purchases:
- Always buy a vehicle with a title.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Make sure all of the paper work matches, i.e., name, address, title information and numbers (if not, don't buy it).
- Try to verify all information you are given by the seller.
- Be cautious if the seller does not have a local address, phone number or place of employment.
- Check to make sure the public VIN plate (which is located on the drivers side dash) has not been re-painted, re-stamped or removed.
- Be aware of people who will only deal on a cash basis.
- Check all paperwork connected to the vehicle. Make sure all the numbers match.
- When selling a vehicle, always list yourself as lien holder until the vehicle is paid off. Buyers and sellers should beware of auto theft scams such as:
WEEKEND: This suspect looks through the newspaper for a vehicle to buy. The transaction will be conducted on a Friday night with the thief assuming the victim will not cash the check until the next business day (Monday). The suspect will give the victim a fake check using false identification. Once the suspect has possession of the vehicle, he will immediately sell it to another innocent purchaser.
TEST DRIVE SCAM : This scam involves a suspect who shows up to purchase your car and asks if he can take the vehicle for a test drive so he can show his wife and children or have a mechanic check it out. The suspect sometimes will leave a small "deposit" and fake identification. The suspect will take the car, never to return again.
LOST TITLE SCAM: In this scam a suspect will "sell or trade" his stolen vehicle and tell the victim the vehicle title is lost or stolen. The suspect promises to send away for a new title as soon as possible. The deal is consummated. After a month or two, the victim attempts to contact the "seller" only to find that the identification is false and the vehicle traded or purchased actually has been stolen.
LEASE SCAM: This scam involves a suspect who will obtain credit in the name of an another person who has good credit. The suspect then goes to a local dealership to lease a high-dollar vehicle for six months or a year. The suspect, still using fake identification, then goes to another state and sells the vehicle to an innocent person. When the lease is up, the dealership will report the car stolen. Once the vehicle is recovered, it is returned to the dealership or the insurance company. Meanwhile, the innocent purchaser is out both the vehicle and the money.