Stolen vehicles are so much more than a missing car, truck or motorcycle. They facilitate all types of crimes such as the transport and smuggling of drugs, migrants, international criminals, weapons, cash and even bombs. The money generated from their resale revenue is used for international organized crime groups. Canada’s position in the global black market has prompted Interpol to name us as a “main source country” for stolen vehicles.
I attended a public meeting held at the Thorncrest Village Community Clubhouse on January 30, 2024 to learn more about police efforts targeted at the safety of our neighbourhoods in relation to auto theft which, according to police data, is currently the most prevalent criminal activity in the Princess-Rosethorn, Edenbridge-Humber Valley and Kingsway areas. There was a good turnout and attendees learned a great deal from the 5 officer panel and key note speakers from Police Divisions 22 and 23.
The key “take-away” points were:
- Don’t try to be a hero - you could get hurt! Generally, thieves don’t want a confrontation.
- Do what you can to make your vehicle difficult to steal (add cameras to you home, add 3M film to your windows, add 1” safety deadbolts to exterior doors, install dash cams both in the front and back of your car(s), install IGLA smart anti-theft immobilizer, install 2 Apple air tags (1 up front and the other hidden in the back), cover the VIN in the windshield.
- Talk about safety scenarios with your family and have a designated “safe” room and cell phones with you at night.
- If someone does break into your home yell, “Fobs are on the table at the door. I’m calling the police. Leave now!”
- Back into your driveway when parking, so you can see if any hooded individuals are approaching.
- If you experience a carjacking, hold your hands up and say, “Let me give you the fob and (if children are with you) let me get the kids out of the car.”
Law enforcement specialists acknowledge that lax border security combined with a booming overseas demand for used cars and lucrative market are key factors driving auto theft.
On February 8, 2024, the Government of Canada held the “National Summit of Combating Auto Theft” in Ottawa, convening provincial, territorial and municipal government officials, industry leaders and law enforcement representatives to discuss solutions to the growing challenge of auto theft in our country. As a result, 28 million dollars in new funding has been earmarked to help the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) detect and search shipping containers, increase inspections and enforcement, identify cargo handling vulnerabilities, enhance intelligence sharing and detection technology to stop cars before they arrive at the ports, such as Montreal, where cars are loaded into containers bound for Africa and the Middle East.
In addition, the Department of Justice will examine potential amendments to the Criminal Code to strengthen the framework related to auto theft. Currently, our justice system treats auto theft as a minor property crime and imposes light sentences. The officers at the community meeting emphasized the “low risk high reward” factor and they are frustrated. However, it is important to note that since the inception of the Provincial Carjacking Joint Task Force (PCITF) the recovery rate of stolen vehicles has been 33%, with 1,100 of 3,000 vehicles recovered in the past year.
How our community members can help…
- Offer your driveway to allow unmarked police cars to park.
- Engage with and get local politicians involved at all levels - especially at the federal level to reform bail conditions.
- Report any suspicious activity and/or provide video to the police when possible.
Meeting Notes as captioned. (Links Below)
PC Marco Ricciardi brought pamphlets to the meeting. In an attempt to find online versions of the handouts, we stumbled into lots of Useful Information about Crime Prevention offered by the Toronto Police Service at this website: <Click Here>
The following hard copies were provided at the meeting and are also available online:
- CRIME PREVENTION THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN
- HOME SECURITY
- NEIGHBOURHOOD SAFETY
- AUTO CRIMES
- IDENTITY THEFT
Here is the link for the IGLA smart anti theft car immobilizer mentioned in the notes.
We will continue to work on keeping our neighborhood safe and if you agree, please tell every politician that we need them to help us in this effort via:
- Bail Reforms: tougher penalties / rehabilitation focus for repeat & young offenders
- Concerted Effort and collaboration between ALL publicly funded entities, regardless of jurisdictional segregation