Automobile theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion every year. And the more frequently your make or model of car is stolen, the bigger your insurance premiums.
Car theft in Canada
Atlantic Canada's 10 most stolen vehicles
Alberta's 10 most stolen vehicles
Ontario's 10 most stolen vehicles
Canada's 10 most stolen vehicles
Never leave your keys in the ignition
Roll up your windows and lock your doors
Get a highly-visible deterrent/alarm sticker
Use your garage
Hide your valuables
Don't program your home address into your GPS
Keep your keys safe at all times
Take care in Public Parking Garages
Tackle tow thiefs
Get an engine immobilizer
According to the insurance board of Canada, automobile theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion every year. This includes $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen cars, $250 million in police, health-care and court-system costs and millions more for correctional services.
According to the IBC,the number of vehicles stolen annually has dropped dramatically in recent years to 78,000 in 2012 which is 4,500 fewer vehicle thefts than in 2011, and a 57 per cent drop from a decade ago. Still, motor vehicle theft is big business for criminals in the country and, in general, the more frequently the make or model of car you own is stolen, the bigger your insurance premiums will be.
We take a look at which cars are targeted most often by thieves in Canada and offer some tips on how to protect yourself and your vehicle.
In Atlantic Canada, thieves’ tastes are shifting from Jeep Cherokees and four-wheel drive trucks to a mix of SUVs and older compact cars. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports many 4×4 and all-wheel-drive trucks and vehicles, still among the hottest targets generally, end up being shipped overseas to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and West Africa via organized crime rings.
The 10 most stolen vehicles in the Atlantic Canada are:
1. 2006 Ford Freestyle wagon-SUV
2. 1998 Dodge Neon 4-dr
3. 2004 Ford Focus ZX5 5-dr
4. 2003 Dodge Durango 4WD SUV
5. 1998 Toyota RAV4 4WD SUV
6. 2004 Chevrolet Blazer/GMC Jimmy S Series 4WD SUV
7. 2005 Ford F-350 SD 4WD pickup
8. 2004 Acura TSX 4-dr
9. 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD SUV
10. 2010 Honda Civic Si 2-dr Coupe
In Alberta, big Ford pickups are all the rage for thieves. Eight out of the 10 most frequently stolen vehicles are either Ford F-250 or F-350 models. The 2007 F-250, a perennial most-stolen list-topper for the province, was toppled and replaced by the 2004 model this year.
The 10 most stolen vehicles in Alberta are:
1. 2004 Ford F-250 SD 4WD pickup
2. 2000 Honda Civic 2-dr Coupe
3. 2006 Ford F-250 SD 4WD pickup
4. 2006 Ford F-350 SD 4WD pickup
5. 2005 Ford F-350 SD 4WD pickup
6. 2007 Ford F-250 SD 4WD pickup
7. 2005 Ford F-250 SD 4WD pickup
8. 2001 Ford F-350 SD 4WD pickup
9. 2010 Buick Enclave/Saturn Outlook SUV
10. 2007 Ford F-350 SD 4WD pickup
Two years ago, vehicle thieves in Ontario had a penchant for Cadillac Escalades. Last year they shifted their attention towards Acuras and Toyotas. Those Japanese makes still make up a good chunk of the list, but the Cadillac came back to take the top spot this year.
The 10 most stolen vehicles in Ontario for 2014 are
1. 2003 Cadillac Escalade 4WD SUV
2. 2010 Acura ZDX AWD SUV
3. 2009 BMW X6 AWD SUV
4. 2013 Acura MDX 4WD SUV
5. 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 pickup
6. 2013 Toyota Highlander 4WD SUV
7. 2005 Hummer H2 AWD SUV
8. 2014 Toyota Venza 5-dr
9. 2011 BMW X6 AWD SUV
10. 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 pickup
We’re sure one of the country’s long-time number one stolen vehicles, the 2000 Honda Civic SiR, is still a popular target for thieves in Canada, but for the first time in a while it’s actually fallen off of this year’s top 10 list. It makes way for the 2005 Ford F-350 which takes home the dubious honour of being Canada’s msot stolen vehicle in 2015. Overall heavy-duty Ford pickups accounted for nine of the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the country this year.
The 10 most stolen vehicles in Canada for 2015 are:
1. 2005 Ford F-350 4WD pickup
2. 2006 Ford F-350 4WD pickup
3. 2007 Ford F-350 4WD pickup
4. 2006 Cadillac Escalade 4WD SUV
5. 2003 Ford F-350 4WD pickup
6. 2006 Ford F-250 4WD pickup
7. 2001 Ford F-350 4WD pickup
8. 2004 Ford F-250 4WD pickup
9. 2007 Ford F-250 4WD pickup
10. 2001 Ford F-250 4WD pickup
So what can you do to keep your car from appearing on one of those lists? Well, for starters, don’t leave your keys sitting there where any old car thief can get at them. Even if you’re just stepping into a store or paying for gas, you should never leave your car running or the keys inside. It takes only a few seconds for someone to jump in and take off—according to the IBC, approximately 20 per cent of all stolen cars have keys in them.
Thieves love easy targets, and leaving your windows down or your doors unlocked makes it that much easier to get inside your car and steal it.
Thieves need to work quickly, and anything that’s going to eat up time like a wheel club or a pedal lock could send them looking for another victim. Visible alarm stickers also act as deterrents as many thieves will not want to deal with a car alarm.
If your house has a garage, that is the best place to keep your car at night to prevent it from being stolen. It’s much easier to steal a car in the driveway than one where you have to break in to the garage first.
Personal items like purses, iPods or cell phones left in the open are easy prey for thieves. Tuck your valuables where thieves can’t see them. It’s best to do this before you leave home if possible as thieves sometimes sit in parking lots, watching people tuck stuff away.
If your car is stolen and you have your home address listed in your GPS, the thief could potentially drive right to your house, and if your car has a garage door opener, get inside. Instead, program the address of a business a few blocks away – that will get you back into familiar territory.
At home, most people keep their keys close to the door. You should make sure they’re not visible to someone looking in though. In the middle of the night, a thief could break the glass, grab the keys, and drive away in your car before you make it downstairs. Similarly you should never leave your spare car key hidden in the vehicle.
Choose a spot in a well-travelled and well-lit area, but not right at the door as this can help thieves make a quick exit. You should also be aware of your surroundings and pay attention. This isn’t the time to be walking and texting.
Rather than driving off in your vehicle, some thieves will actually tow your vehicle away. Using the emergency park/handbrake when you leave your vehicle will help minimize the risk of this happening to you. If your car has a manual transmission you should leave it in gear when parking, or if your car has an automatic transmission make sure you leave it in ‘Park’.
Engine immobilizers, which have been mandatory in Canada since 2008, are anti-theft devices that prevents the vehicle from starting if the correct microchipped key isn’t used. If your car is older and is not equipped with such a device you may want to have an after-market version installed.
This one might seem a bit strange at first glance, but the fact is, fewer and fewer drivers out there today know how to drive a car with a manual transmission. If a thief can’t drive a stick, they can’t take your car.