The Rate of Car thefts

TORONTO – Is Toronto a safe city? The response is clearly… not as safe as it used to be.

The escalation of car thefts has been highlighted by the media but the best our elected officials are able to do is provide advice and hand out free RFID anti-theft key pouches. There have been no significant actions taken as the number of thefts has exploded.

Last year, in Toronto, they increased by over 40%. This year, so far, they are up by 60%. There is plenty of blame to share. It is not simply a problem of loss of property. These thefts can, and do, result in physical harm, mental anguish, increases in insurance costs and enable more crimes with the proceeds.

Last week, someone stole my wife’s SUV from a shopping mall’s parking lot. She always keeps the keys in an RFID pouch in her purse. Someone either followed to the parking lot, or the thieves were waiting there for their next victim.

Many videos on YouTube demonstrate that thieves can steal your car in less than two minutes without accessing your car’s key code. It is a serious problem and not just for owners of luxury vehicles. Hondas have climbed to the top of the most stolen list, as have Ford F150 pick- up trucks.

The first group that deserves blame for these developments are the automobile manufacturers – in our case, Toyota.   It is inexcusable that they have not rectified the high theft rate for their vehicles. It has been a problem for years. Technological solutions exist but motivation appears lacking. Other companies have done a better job.

I can assure you that I will not be putting my wife at risk again with another Toyota vehicle. She was in fact lucky the recent theft did not result in her being physically confronted or harmed. Even if her car is somehow returned (highly unlikely), it will be sold. One in ten (10%) of Lexus SUVs in Canada are stolen. It is an astonishing number.

The second in line for blame is the police.  When my wife realized her car was missing, she first called me.  I quickly opened her car app and saw that the GPS tracking had not been disengaged.  I called the police and told them the address where the car was parked.

They said they had no officer available to check on the location. This is what the media has highlighted as the standard response, despite GPS tracking. The police claim they do not have the resources to chase down all calls.  I find this inexcusable – inaction only encourages thieves to steal again.  Instead, I was told my wife would be contacted so she could file her official report.

Finally, I come back to the inexcusable lack of serious initiatives by governments. At the federal and provincial level, they can enact stiffer penalties, improve funding for crime prevention and legislate car companies to install better anti-theft technology.

Municipal governments, in particular, should be able to act quickly as they control the police and can have an immediate and significant impact on the safety of their citizens and their property by allocating the proper resources.

Nothing makes a city more livable than feeling safe.

Thank you.


Pic by Tobias A. Müller from Unsplash


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