Turning The Table On Toronto Car Thieves

August 17th, 2023 by

How To Stop Car Thefts In Toronto

A woman becoming the victim of a carjacking

According to statistics from Toronto Police Services car thefts in Toronto are rising.

In Ontario, a car is stolen every 48 minutes. According to experts, the money from stolen vehicles is used to fund gun and gang violence. It is also partially responsible for higher insurance premiums. Car theft in Toronto is far from a victimless crime. To combat this issue, the Ontario government recently introduced new measures to assist the police in identifying and dismantling organized crime networks.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Christine Hogarth announced the province would be allocating a total of $1.4 million towards the GTA and the Greater Golden Horseshoe region. This funding, known as the investigative fund, aims to support police services by providing them with the necessary resources and advanced technology to combat crime. The goal is to collaborate with the federal government, as well as the Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to focus on examining shipping containers and rail companies.

How To Prevent A Vehicle Being Stolen

It is often said that there is no sure-fire way to prevent vehicle theft, drivers can only make it more difficult. Many thieves are opportunists and will move on if they don’t see an easy way to steal the car. With this in mind, the most crucial advice is to ALWAYS turn off your engine and take your keys with you. Other theft prevention tips include;

  • parking in a garage when possible and a well-lit area otherwise
  • covering and locking up any valuables in the vehicle
  • completely closing all windows and locking all doors

Some thieves have started using tow trucks to make off with vehicles and it is becoming increasingly more common. If this is a concern police encourage setting the emergency brake and turning the wheels hard to the side when parked.

Toronto Police have also started encouraging drivers with high-target vehicles to use vehicle tracking systems, like airtags. Hiding an airtag in your vehicle can allow police to track it with GPS even after the thieves have turned off the vehicle’s built-in tracking system. A common trick thieves are using on newer vehicles is to gain access and then reprogram a keyfob through the vehicle’s diagnostic port. Diagnostic Port locks (or OBD locks) are now commonly available, speak with our team to price an OBD lock for your vehicle.

OBD Port Lock

What Are The Most Stolen Cars In Toronto?

One of the first steps to ensuring you don’t become a victim of vehicle theft is to know how desirable thieves find your vehicle.

According to statistics collected throughout 2022 some of the most stolen vehicles in Canada include newer model Honda CR-Vs, Civics and Accords, and trucks from several manufacturers. With so many Hondas being targetted Honda Canada has started offering Honda+ Locate to customers, a tracking system used to locate the vehicle after it’s been taken.

If you drive a vehicle that is a common target you may want to think about taking some of the precautions suggested by police and other experts.

What To Do If Your Car Has Been Stolen

Driver comes back to their parking spot to find their vehicle missing

The first thing you should do if your vehicle has been stolen is contact the police. Drivers who can locate their vehicle using aftermarket GPS or see their vehicle being driven later should not approach the thieves.

The more complete a description of your vehicle you can give to police the better chance they have of finding it. Memorize or take a record of the year, make, model, license plate number and VIN. If you have accessories be sure to mention them, and the serial number where possible. Finally, damage to a vehicle makes it stand out from similar-looking makes and models. If you have a dent, scratch or other visible marking be sure the officers looking for your vehicle are aware.

You’ll also want to contact your insurance provider as soon as you can to verify that your plan includes theft protection, you can often open a claim at the same time.

What Is A Carjacking?

Carjackings are more violent car thefts where the driver is present and a thief takes the vehicle from them through force or intimidation.

Crime expert with CTV Toronto Mark Mendelson gave his thoughts on carjackings in Toronto and believes they may be increasing because they are easier to execute compared to stealing key fobs to unlock parked vehicles using technology. Mendelson explains that carjackings are more straightforward and quicker, although some incidents involve elaborate planning. The perpetrators are not concerned about witnesses driving by.

If you find yourself being targeted in a carjacking, Mendelson advises making noise to deter the thieves. By locking the doors and activating the car alarm using your key fob, you can draw attention to the situation, which is something the thieves want to avoid.

However, if your safety is at risk, Mendelson advises complying with the demands of the carjackers and surrendering your vehicle. He emphasizes that a car can be replaced, but risking your life to protect it is not worth it.

Other tips to prevent carjackings include;

  • keep your mobile phone charged and nearby
  • avoid being alone in your vehicle in high-crime neighbourhoods, on isolated roads or intersections and parking lots with minimal traffic
  • be aware of your surroundings and people lurking near your vehicle or following you in their car
  • practice safe parking by sticking to well-lit and high-foot traffic areas
  • don’t sit in the car with the door unlocked or windows down
  • don’t use isolated ATMs because these are prime spots for thieves to take both your vehicle and bank account information
  • be aware of how carjackers lure victims including bumping into your car, pretending to be a stranded driver and flashing their lights as though they have noticed a problem with your vehicle
Posted in Info, Local, Tips, Vehicles