Ottawa, Ontario — A car is stolen every six minutes in Canada—a fact that the Canadian Financing and Leasing Association estimates costs the country about $1 billion per year, according to a new report.
The CFLA is ringing the alarm bell on auto theft amid a 300 percent increase in theft reports recorded since 2015 in Toronto alone; though the report is quick to point out that this trend is by no means unique to the GTA.
The report found that in 2019, 17 metropolitan areas reported per capita theft rates higher than that of Toronto, pointing to a national problem that the CFLA says is linked to organized crime.
The association suggests that the profits gained from stolen vehicle sales are often used by crime syndicates to fund more overtly illegal ventures, like drug trafficking, firearm smuggling, tax evasion, money laundering, and even terrorism.
“Educating the public is the first step in preventing theft”, according to the report, which detailed a number of recommendations for addressing this troubling trend.
Signal-blocking containers, steering wheel and diagnostic port locks to prevent fob reprogramming and personal tracking devices are all advisable methods of keeping your vehicle safe, according to the CFLA’s report.
“It’s become common, and we had to develop recommendations to address it,” said CFLA president and CEO, Michael Rothe.
“Almost everyone I speak to has a story about vehicle theft, and our latest report proves it. Vehicle theft in Canada is rising exponentially, with organized crime becoming more adept at maintaining their revenue flow from stolen vehicles. We urgently need public education programs on theft prevention, the re-establishment of provincial auto theft teams, and protocols for reporting financed vehicles exported through identity theft.”
The report also calls for the re-establishment of the Ontario Provincial Auto Theft Team, so that the province can be adequately equipped to combat auto theft, as was the case when the team was first formed in the early 2000s.