- Auto theft in Canada is a very serious crime that affects every community.
- Stolen cars are often used in serious crimes that result in property damage, physical injuries and loss of life after an accident.
- Theft of automobiles constitutes a significant financial loss to society.
- In Canada, a car is stolen every seven minutes. It only takes 90 seconds to steal a car.
- Seventy per cent of all stolen cars have the key in the ignition with the engine running.
- About 70 per cent of stolen cars are recovered; many are found vandalized, stripped of their parts or stereo equipment. Police say that the rest of the vehicles are either shipped overseas or sent to local “chop shops” where the parts are taken out and sold.
- Automobile theft and the stealing of property left inside an automobile can be prevented.
Several car manufacturers have introduced anti-theft devices in their vehicles to help reduce the incidents of theft. There are also several other after-market devices. Some devices must be activated by the user and others are activated automatically with the locking of the vehicles:
- audible alarm system
- fuel/ignition/electrical system cut-off
- engine disabler
- parts identification
- security key system
- tracking system
How to discourage car thieves:
- Don’t leave your car unlocked,
- Don’t leave your car [locked or unlocked] with the key in the ignition,
- Ask your local police and motorists’ association for advice on which cars are the most difficult for thieves to steal,
- Park your car in well-lit areas and where there are lots of people,
- Beware of second-hand parts: if the price is too good to be true, chances are the parts are stolen,
- Mark some of the more expensive parts on your car in an inconspicuous place with an engraving tool, using your car Vehicle Identification Number. Glass etching is a good deterrent. Thieves don’t like cars with parts that can be traced,
- If you have an alarm on your vehicle, use it,
- Never leave your vehicle with the engine running. You are extending an open invitation to a “joy rider”,
- Do not leave identification tags on your key ring. Thieves will use them to locate your home or car,
- Valuables, including credit cards and money, should not be left in the car,
- Always carry your registration with you; don’t leave it in your vehicle and,
- Consider the installation of an anti-theft device, such as an alarm system, disable ignition switch or fuel ‘kill’ switch. These systems will deter and make it hard for the thief to steal your vehicle. Also, consider locking the steering wheel with “The Club”,
Remember, preventive measures do work to your advantage, but a determined thief can drive off with just about any car, given sufficient time and opportunity. That’s why you should use layered protection.