Vehicle thefts rise in Canada through 2015

Published: December 29, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Despite continued improvements in security measures 2015 saw a rise in auto thefts said the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), marking the first statistically hike in more than a decade. However, while vehicles are getting harder to steal due to enhanced modern technology but many stolen vehicles in Canada are older models without electronic immobilizers or other theft deterrent systems.

Across the country the number of stolen vehicles rose by 1 per cent to 73,964 according to Rick Dubin, vice-president, investigative services at the bureau. While that number represents a decade long high, it is still significantly below numbers seen in the 1990s, 50 per cent lower in fact. Various Ford pickup trucks in the F-350 and F-250 series’ are the most commonly stolen vehicles, with models aged between 2001 and 2007 targeted the most.

“None of the top 10 stolen vehicles are equipped with an electronic immobilizer as a theft deterrent system, so they are easier to steal,” said Dubin. “We also see from this list that criminals continue to have a huge demand for all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive late model, high-end vehicles.”

Dubin suggests there is a worrying trend for consumers to consider as many of the top 10 most stolen vehicles are equipped with electronic immobilizers. This, Dubin says, means that many people are leaving their vehicles unattended with keys in place, essentially giving thieves an easy option. He says if a vehicle is secure modern technology would make them extremely difficult for thieves to steal. Electronic immobilizers are now standard on all Canadian vehicles and have been since 2008 models were launched.

“Six out of the top 10 vehicles have electronic immobilizers,” said Dubin. “My concern is, No. 1, probably a lot of people have vehicles running unattended so the keys are inside. “Our No. 2 concern is whether thieves have acquired technology to override electronic immobilizers. This is what police are concerned about.”

“We are seeing containers in the Montreal and Halifax ports stocked with car and truck parts,” said Dubin. “Crooks are trying to fool Canada Border Services Agency and (the Insurance Bureau by dismantling high-end, late-model vehicles. (The two agencies) have seized 41 of these vehicles that had been dismantled.”