Auto thefts in Ontario

As auto theft rates surge in Ontario, concerns about the vulnerability of vehicles are on the rise. An organization committed to combating crime on behalf of the Canadian property and casualty insurance industry recently unveiled a list of the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the province over the past year.

Leading the list are the Honda CR-V, the most frequently stolen vehicle nationwide, followed by the Lexus RX Series and the Dodge RAM 1500 Series.

The organization reports a substantial 48% increase in auto thefts in Ontario and a 50% increase in Quebec in 2022 compared to the previous year, marking “historical highs.” These alarming figures have positioned Canada as a significant “source country for illegal trade,” according to a news release from the organization.

Both domestic and international criminal organizations are involved in vehicle theft, with the proceeds financing domestic drug trafficking and international terrorism, the association added.

The vice president of investigative services at the organization emphasized that organized crime groups tend to target vehicles with high demand globally. He noted the prevalence of SUVs and pickup trucks, especially newer models, in the top 10 list, stating, “When these criminals are looking for vehicles, they know exactly the brands that they want.”

The Honda CR-V, holding the unfortunate title of the most stolen vehicle in Ontario, is likely targeted due to its widespread presence on roads, global serviceability, and the availability of parts.

Surprisingly, when considering theft frequency relative to the number of insured vehicles, the Range Rover takes the lead at 5.9%, followed by the Lexus RX at three percent, the Toyota Highlander at 2.2%, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee at 1.6%.

The organization also disclosed the 10 least stolen vehicles in Ontario and Canada in 2022. Noteworthy among the findings is that nine of the most popular model years stolen are 2019 or newer, indicating a trend of criminals maximizing profits by selling vehicles overseas or altering registration numbers for resale in Canada through a process known as re-vinning.

The president and CEO of the organization stressed the need for collaborative efforts among auto manufacturers, government at all levels, and law enforcement to address the escalating auto theft crisis. She emphasized that the organization provides this information to combat rising trends and ensure the safety of Canadians against organized crime impacts.

In response to the auto theft issue, a spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service highlighted the dramatic increase in auto thefts in Toronto, which has more than doubled since 2019. Vehicle thefts are becoming a significant concern, with stolen cars being used in other crimes or shipped overseas for resale or re-vinning.

The anti-theft solution

To protect against vehicle theft, the organization recommends a layered approach. It suggests making vehicles more challenging to steal and using additional protection measures such as steering wheel or diagnostic port locks, parking in secure areas, utilizing tracking systems, and reporting suspicious activities to law enforcement. Police also suggest practical measures like parking in a garage, using steering wheel locks, installing vehicle tracking systems, and having ignition kill switches or windows etched with vehicle identification numbers for added security.

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