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Grand Theft Toronto: Toronto Police called on to rebuild auto theft unit

Toronto, Ontario — City council is calling on the Toronto Police Services Board to form a unit aimed at addressing the rising tide of auto theft that Toronto has been in the midst of for the past several years.

On Friday, council voted to put the issue before the police board, specifically requesting it to work with the chief of police to “determine the resources required to re-establish a policing unit specifically dedicated to fighting the increasing problem of auto theft in Toronto; and mandate the unit to conduct proactive investigations with partner agencies across Ontario, to ensure greater information sharing and coordination of investigations into high end auto thefts.”

Colle’s motion shed light on the more than 5,300 auto thefts that have occurred in the city over the past year and the effects they have on an area’s auto insurance rates.

The Dec. 8 notice of motion notes the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s data that auto thefts have risen by 55 percent, in Ontario, from 2016 to 2020. According to Colle, the value of these claims totals $250.7 million, an increase of 149 percent over this same period.

Colle says that Toronto-area drivers pay up 15 percent more than most Canadians for auto insurance as a result of higher theft rates.

According to data collected by the Toronto Star, thieves have been targeting larger, SUV-type vehicles in their thefts, with the Honda Civic being the only vehicle not of this type to appear in the top five. The Honda CR-V is the city’s most stolen vehicle, at 654 thefts this year.

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