Auto theft results in greater human toll – study

Sudbury, ON, Nov. 19 – Data on the human cost of auto
theft is not always readily available. But in a new study released in Sudbury today by the
Insurance Bureau of Canada and the National Committee to Reduce Auto Theft, there is proof
of increased injuries and deaths related to auto theft.

The study suggests that during the past 2 years alone, auto
theft related incidents in Ontario have caused 23 deaths and have resulted in at least 13
life-threatening injuries that have led to permanent disabilities. Included among the
victims are young thieves, pedestrians, law enforcement officers and other motorists.

More than 50,000 cars are stolen each year in Ontario.
Across Canada, 40% of convicted car thieves are between the ages of 14 and 17.

“There’s no question that young thieves tend to drive
recklessly,” says Sudbury Police Chief Alex McCauley. “When kids are 14, not
only are they unable to obtain a driver’s license, they also have the perception of being immortal.”

In an effort to generate public awareness about the human
cost of auto theft, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the National Committee to Reduce
Auto Theft have teamed together to help people develop a better understanding of the
tragic spin-off effects caused by auto theft.

The two groups are hosting a town hall-style meeting at
City Hall Council Chambers in Sudbury (200 Brady Street) tonight from 7 to 9. The meeting
will promote open dialogue between industry experts and people from the community, with
the focus on victimization.

“The real tragedy is knowing that most of this carnage
is preventable,” says Marlene Viau, Chair of the National Committee to Reduce Auto
Theft. Other panel guests include Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci, Sudbury Police Chief Alex
McCauley, and Barbara Hall, Chair of the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention.

“It’s a fact that IBC’s Vehicle Information Centre has
analyzed the issue and concluded that immobilizers are the best tool to prevent cars from
being stolen in the first place. The devices eliminate the opportunity to steal cars from
young, unsophisticated criminals,” says Bartolucci.

Immobilizers are anti-theft devices equipped with an
electronic circuit. Cars can neither be started nor hot-wired unless you have a special
ignition key with an integrated transponder.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade
association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents about
200 companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the non-government home, car and
business insurance in Canada. Visit the media section of the bureau’s Web site at for more news releases and information.