It’s nearly a billion dollar industry with few beneficiaries.
Every year, auto theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion, which includes $542 million for insurers to repair or replace stolen vehicles and $250 million in police services. On top of all that, millions of dollars are spent on health care, court systems and correctional services.
And the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) wants Canadians to know that technology isn’t going to deter thieves from stealing vehicles.
The agency just released its list of top vehicles stolen in Canada, with the Ford Pickup model F350, between 2002-2007, taking six of the top ten places.
Technology doesn’t always protect from theft
Bryan Gast, national director of investigative services with IBC, says one of the factors that put this model so prominently on the list is that after 2007, it became mandatory to have an anti theft immobilizer in Canada. Another factor has to do with the region it’s likely to be stolen from.
“Alberta is a significant area of auto theft, particularly (the Ford pickup),” he tells Yahoo Canada. “They’re large, they can be used for a variety of things, and that’s what marks that vehicle as a Canadian statistic.”
Newer, more technically advanced vehicles are still vulnerable to theft. The 2018 Lexus SUV places seventh on the list, which Gast attributes to the result of savvier thieves.
“They’re cloning key fobs or whatever it is that starts the car,” he says. “It’s an emerging trend. As older models get off the roads, criminals find alternative ways to steal (newer models) and they’re turning to technology for that.”
Ways to prevent vehicle theft
There are several low-cost ways to protect your vehicle from theft.
Never to leave it running, especially when the keys are still in it.
Lock doors and windows.
Park in well-lit areas.
When it comes to technological features, thieves can use wireless transmitters to intercept the signal of a fob that starts the car, so Gast suggests storing it in a protective bag or box. Vehicle owners can also install an immobilizing device, which helps discourage criminals from hot-wiring the car.
Motives for car theft vary
There are few reasons why criminals are compelled to steal vehicles. Sometimes it’s for the thrill of a joyride, other times it’s to use the car to commit another crime and then dump it once it’s done. But often, vehicles are stolen so they can be placed on the international black market.
“A lot of the higher end vehicles are being sold overseas,” says Gast. “Those vehicles are not being recovered.”
Top ten vehicles stolen in Canada
1. Ford 350SD AWD 2007
2. Ford 350SD AWD 2006
3. Ford 350SD AWD 2005
4. Ford 350SD AWD 2004
5. Ford 250SD AWD 2006
6. Ford 350SD AWD 2003
7. Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD 2018
8. Ford F250 SD 4WD 2005
9. Ford F350 SD 4AWD 2002
10. Honda Civic Si 2DR Coupe 1998