The Toronto Police Service (TPS) alerted the public to the rise in carjackings in the city on Tuesday.
At a news conference at Toronto Police Headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, police revealed that there have been 182 carjackings so far this year, which is 80 more reported incidents compared to 2021.
in sp. Rich Harris of the Hold Up Squad said 56 of the stolen vehicles have been found in these carjackings.
“Many of these investigations are active and ongoing and we are working with law enforcement in all jurisdictions to resolve these crimes in a timely manner,” Harris said.
Due to the significant increase in car thefts in Toronto, here’s a rundown of why your car could be stolen, which cars are most wanted by thieves, and what to do if your car has been stolen.
WHY CARS ARE STOLEN
According to Toronto Police, thieves often steal vehicles to sell them or parts of them. They could also just use the car to get them from point A to point B, and then abandon it.
Police say vehicles can also be stolen to help them commit other crimes, such as robberies, drug dealing or shootings.
Another reason thieves go after cars is for “vehicle cloning,” which is when the identity of a legitimately owned car (its vehicle identification number) is used in a stolen vehicle.
“Vehicles are stolen, given a fraudulent identification number and then sold to unsuspecting individuals who are swindled out of their money,” police wrote in a pamphlet sent to CTV Toronto.
THE MOST STOLEN VEHICLES IN ONTARIO IN 2021
According to a January report from HelloSafe.ca, an insurance platform, the most stolen cars in the province last year were the Lexus RX series, Honda CR-V and Honda Civic.
The Toronto police also had these cars among the three most wanted vehicles for thieves in the city.
This is the full top 10 list from HelloSafe, including vehicle models, makes and years:
- Lexus RX, SUV, 2018
- Honda CR-V, SUV, 2019
- Honda Civic, Sedan, 2019
- Toyota Highlander, SUV, 2019
- Chevrolet/GMC, Silverado/Sierra 1500, 2500, 3500, Truck, 2017
- Ford, F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, Truck, 2019
- Dodge Ram, 1500, 2500, 3500, Truck, 2019
- Honda Accord, Sedan, 2018
- Toyota Corolla, Sedan, 2017
- Land Rover, Range Rover, SUV, 2016
Meanwhile, in Toronto, Honda CR-Vs were the most stolen vehicles in Toronto in 2021, with Hyundai Elantras also making the TPS list.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Harris said that in addition to Hondas and Toyotas, high-end cars like Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches and Lamborghinis are targets of car thieves in Toronto.
HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF YOUR CAR STOLEN
When parking in public, police advise against leaving your car running, even if you’re running an errand for just a minute. They also say to bring your keys, close all doors and windows, and turn the wheels toward the curb to make towing more difficult.
At home, Toronto Police recommend parking rear-wheel drive vehicles (cars whose rear wheels do most of the pushing) backing into a driveway. It is recommended to park the front of front-wheel drive cars first, or vehicles in which the engine is in the front.
They also suggest making a photocopy of your property or insurance cards to leave inside your vehicle instead of the original.
Another helpful tip provided by the Toronto Police is to never hide a spare key in the vehicle or leave anything in plain view, such as your bag or charging devices. They also remind car owners to take out any items they don’t want to lose.
There’s a some more tips recommended by CAA South Central Ontario (CAASCO) to keep you and your vehicle safe.
For you, CAASCO says to park your car in a well-lit, high-traffic area, and in your home, consider installing a home security camera system that keeps an eye on your parking space.
If you see someone approaching your vehicle and you suspect that you are being followed, you are advised to make some noise to attract attention and activate your car alarm with your key fob.
As for your vehicle, CAASCO recommends keeping your wireless key fob away from the front door or using a Faraday box or bag to block its signal to prohibit remote vehicle entry.
They also say to install a GPS tracker, although it won’t necessarily prevent theft; after all, York police shared late last year that thieves can use Apple AirTags and its technology to track and steal high-end vehicles.
CAASCO also recommends using an immobilizer, which is an electronic security device that will start your vehicle’s engine only if the correct key is present. This can prevent thieves from wiring your car.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAR IS STOLEN
If your vehicle is stolen, the police tell you to contact them immediately and be ready to provide them with the following information:
- The year, model, make and color of the vehicle.
- License number
- Vehicle identification number
- Serial numbers of all special equipment
- Special marks: dents, scratches, other damage, etc.
- Detailed information about any accessories stolen from the vehicle
With files from CTV Toronto’s Abby O’Brien and Phil Tsekouras, and CP24’s Kerrisa Wilson.