Toronto, Ontario — The Ontario government announced its plan to finally crack down on auto theft in the province on Wednesday, opting to fight the issue the only way it knows how—handing out a bunch of money and hoping for the best.
“With vehicle thefts and carjackings on the rise, our government is taking bold action against a serious and often violent crime where high-tech criminals operate in tightly organized networks,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “These measures are aimed at taking crime organizations apart and bringing these criminals to justice.”
These measures include the investment of $51 million delivered over three years to create an Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), offer grants to individual police services to equip them with theft-fighting resources, as well as create a new Major Auto Theft Prosecution Response Team.
The Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team will work with police services to identify, disrupt and dismantle organized crime networks participating in vehicle theft, according to the province’s press release.
Regarding grants, starting this year OPP, municipal and First Nations police services will be eligible to apply for funding for extra tools, supports and resources to fight and prevent auto theft in their communities.
The release specifies that these grants can be applied to various anti-theft efforts, including public education and awareness campaigns or technology to assist police with surveillance and identification of stolen vehicles.
The Major Auto Theft Prosecution Response Team will provide dedicated legal and prosecutorial support to the OPP to prepare and prosecute complex cases, with corresponding court support staff and resources.
Alongside this significant investment comes an additional investment of $1.4 million over the next three years to support the Greater Toronto Area-Greater Golden Horseshoe Investigative Fund.
“We need a strong approach across the justice sector to stop the rise in auto thefts across Ontario,” said Ontario’s Attorney General Doug Downey.
“Today’s investments will support the creation of dedicated auto theft prosecution teams and enhanced court resources to investigate and prosecute criminal organizations, and ensure justice is served. Our auto theft focus will support our ongoing efforts to ensure communities remain safe and that we hold offenders accountable.”