For the 30th consecutive year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) coordinated Law Enforcement Day at the LA Auto Show. The purpose of the event is to give attending law enforcement officers and auto theft detectives the opportunity to inspect new cars to learn about the year-to-year changes in vehicle identification and locations of serial numbers. This year, the event hosted 375 attendees.
Guest speaking was David Navarro, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigator assigned to the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force (OCATT). Investigator Navarro has been with the CHP for the last sixteen years and an auto theft investigator for ten years. He spoke about the issue of auto theft by fraud in dealerships in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.
Over the past thirty years, NICB has done its best to provide training for officers who investigate auto theft. Vehicle crime has become more complex as technology has come to the forefront of operating a motor vehicle. To keep pace with the auto thieves, detectives need to keep pace with technology.
In the area of fraud, simple auto theft by identity theft has grown into complex schemes orchestrated by organized crime groups. These groups are stealing vehicles to export, sometimes getting more than three times the U.S. value. NICB has assisted law enforcement track fraudulently purchased vehicles sold in China, Eastern Europe, and even Africa. Other groups are using fraudulently obtained vehicles to move narcotics, for human trafficking, or illegal rental scams.
In the end, the cost passes onto the consumer with higher financing rates, higher insurance rates, and dealerships not offering deals to cover losses.
Cooperation, networking, education, and sharing information are the most prominent tools we have in fighting all crimes, including auto theft and vehicle crime. This year and last year, the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealership Association (GLANCDA) assisted with sponsoring this event. NICB is grateful for the partnership with GLANCDA, and the cooperation of the Los Angeles Convention Center and LA Auto Show.