Toronto police are warning residents to keep their vehicles safe amid the rising number of car thefts over the years.
“Auto thefts continue to be a concern across Toronto and the GTA with the growing issue of ‘auto thefts through technology,’ with the majority of vehicles being stolen having keyless ignition systems,” says Cindy Chung, police media relations officer.
Police reported 453 car thefts in the first two weeks of 2023, and these numbers have continued to rise as thieves use sophisticated techniques to start vehicles and then drive off without being noticed.
Chung cautions residents that while police will do everything they can to locate missing vehicles and protect the city’s safety, people need to take proactive measures to prevent thefts.
Toronto Police Services (TPS) have released safety tips and preventive strategies for reducing the risk of vehicle theft. These tips are specific for those who park in a home garage and others who park outside:
- When parking, you should never leave your vehicle running when you run an errand — even for a minute.
- Always, remove the keys and take them with you.
- Park in a well-lit, attended area, completely close and lock doors and windows, and turn your wheels toward the curb to make the vehicle harder to tow.
- At home if you have a garage, use and lock it.
- Install a motion sensor light to light up your vehicles and garage
- If you have rear-wheel, back into the driveway. If you have front-wheel drive, park front end first.
- Always set the emergency brake when parking at home.
- Don’t leave the original ownership or insurance cards in the vehicle when unattended. Make a photocopy of the documents to leave in your vehicle.
- Drop business cards or address labels inside the doors to assist with vehicle identification.
- Never hide a spare key in the vehicle — thieves know where to look.
- When driving, be aware of your surroundings and keep your doors locked.
Policing hot spots
Toronto police are implementing strategies to find vehicles and track what thieves are doing with stolen cars, Chung says.
“Each TPS division has a major crime unit, which investigates these reports and establishes if there are any similarities or links to other incidents,” Chung says.
Every division also has uniform and plain-clothes projects to tackle particular hot spots.
TPS has also implemented a team specifically designed to investigate auto thefts connected to organized crime and this team of investigators additionally works with our other units such as the hold-up squad to identify those responsible.
“The service is also part of a GTA taskforce dedicated to carjackings as auto theft crimes, by their very nature, often have no borders,” Chung says.