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HomeDriver's ResourcesWhy is car theft on the rise Canada?

general factors that may lead to an increase in car theft, based on patterns observed around the world:

  1. Economic Conditions: If the economy is struggling, or if there is a high unemployment rate, crimes such as car theft may increase.
  2. Demand for Parts: There could be a growing market for stolen car parts, which can be lucrative. Thieves can dismantle stolen vehicles and sell the parts individually, often for more money than the vehicle would bring in as a whole.
  3. Advanced Technology: Ironically, the technological advancements designed to prevent car theft can sometimes contribute to it. Tech-savvy criminals are finding ways to override these security features, and as new technology is implemented, it can sometimes take a while for security measures to catch up.
  4. Decrease in Law Enforcement: If there are cutbacks or changes in strategy within the law enforcement community, it could potentially lead to an increase in car theft.
  5. Border Issues: Countries that share a border with others, such as Canada with the United States, may see an increase in car theft due to cross-border criminal activities.
  6. Drug Trade: Sometimes, a rise in drug addiction and the drug trade can lead to an increase in car theft. Stolen vehicles can be used in the commission of other crimes, traded for drugs, or sold to fund drug habits.
  7. Organized Crime: If there is an increase in organized crime activity, car theft rates may rise. Stolen cars can be used in other criminal activities or exported to other countries.
  8. Lack of Awareness or Preparedness by Car Owners: If car owners are not aware of the risks or do not take proper precautions to secure their vehicles, the number of car thefts could increase.
  9. Availability of Easy Targets: More often than not, cars that are easy to steal, like those left running unattended, those parked in poorly lit areas, or those with visible valuables are targeted. An increase in such behavior can lead to a spike in car theft.
  10. Societal Changes: Changes in societal structure or significant societal events could also contribute. For instance, during times of societal unrest or economic downturns, crime rates can spike.

How many cars are stolen per day in Canada?

A car gets stolen approximately every 7 minutes in Canada. Given there are 1,440 minutes in a day, this equates to about 205 cars being stolen daily.

Where do stolen cars in Canada go?

Stolen vehicles in Canada, like in other countries, can end up in various places based on the intention of the thieves. Here are some common scenarios:

  1. Resale on the Black Market: Stolen vehicles can be sold in their entirety on the black market. These vehicles are often resold to unsuspecting buyers. To facilitate this, thieves may alter the vehicle identification number (VIN) or create fraudulent documents to hide the vehicle’s stolen status.
  2. Chop Shops: Some stolen vehicles are taken to so-called “chop shops,” where they are disassembled and their parts are sold individually. This is often done because the cumulative value of the individual parts can exceed the value of the whole vehicle.
  3. Export: Stolen vehicles can also be shipped out of the country for sale in foreign markets. This is especially common with high-end luxury vehicles. Canada’s vast coastline and numerous ports make it susceptible to such activities.
  4. Use in Other Crimes: Stolen vehicles are sometimes used in the commission of other crimes, like robberies or drug trafficking. After being used for such purposes, these vehicles might be abandoned.
  5. Joyriding: Sometimes, vehicles are stolen for temporary use or joyriding and then abandoned. These vehicles may end up anywhere and are often recovered, albeit sometimes with damage.

Why are so many cars being stolen in Toronto?

Several common factors, and these could potentially apply to Toronto:

  1. Value: Cars, particularly high-end vehicles, can be quite valuable. This makes them attractive targets for thieves who can sell them on the black market, dismantle them for parts, or use them in the commission of other crimes.
  2. Population Density: Cities like Toronto, which have high population densities, naturally have a higher number of vehicles. This increases the potential pool of targets for car thieves.
  3. Technology: Some thieves have become adept at circumventing modern security measures, including keyless entry systems. This could potentially be contributing to an increase in car thefts.
  4. Organized Crime: Organized criminal groups often participate in car theft, either as a primary activity or as a means to support other illegal endeavors.
  5. Border Proximity: Being relatively close to the US border could potentially make car theft more attractive in Toronto, as stolen vehicles can be more easily moved out of the country.

Are push button start cars easy to steal?

While push-button start cars, also known as keyless entry cars, are designed with convenience and security in mind, they are not impervious to theft. In fact, some thieves have been able to adapt to this technology and exploit it.

Here are some ways push-button start cars can be vulnerable:

  1. Relay Attacks: This is a technique where thieves use a special device to amplify the signal from your key fob, tricking your car into thinking the key is nearby when it’s not. This can allow thieves to unlock your car and start the engine, all while the actual key fob is still inside your house, for example.
  2. Key Fob Hacking: Thieves can potentially intercept the radio signal between your key fob and car, giving them access to your vehicle.
  3. Key Programming: Some thieves have access to technology that allows them to program a blank key fob to match your vehicle if they can gain access to the car’s onboard diagnostic port.

How often stolen cars are recovered in Canada?

According to past data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), approximately half of all stolen vehicles in Canada are eventually recovered.

The recovery rate can vary depending on several factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the location where it was stolen, the resources available to law enforcement, and the motive behind the theft. For instance, luxury vehicles and SUVs, which are often targeted for export, may have lower recovery rates than other types of vehicles.

What is the penalty for car theft in Canada?

The penalties for car theft in Canada are largely guided by the Criminal Code of Canada rather than by province-specific laws, as criminal law is under federal jurisdiction in Canada.

According to the Criminal Code, the theft of a motor vehicle is considered a serious crime. Here is the general breakdown:

  1. Theft Over $5000: Since most motor vehicles are worth more than $5000, the theft of a motor vehicle often falls under the category of “theft over $5000.” This is an indictable offense that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment (Section 334a of the Criminal Code).
  2. Theft Under $5000: If a motor vehicle is worth less than $5000, the theft would be categorized as “theft under $5000.” This offense can be treated either as an indictable offense, with a maximum sentence of 2 years, or as a summary conviction offense, which generally has less severe penalties (Section 334b of the Criminal Code).
  3. Motor Vehicle Theft: Section 333.1 of the Criminal Code specifically addresses motor vehicle theft, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

However, actual sentences depend on a variety of factors, including the circumstances of the theft, the offender’s criminal history, and other factors considered by the court.

For province-specific information, it’s crucial to consult local legal authorities or legal professionals, as each province may have additional regulations or procedures related to the prosecution and sentencing of these crimes. Additionally, penalties can change over time, so for the most accurate information, consult a legal expert or the most recent version of the Criminal Code.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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