IBC: Partnerships are key in the fight against auto theft

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2003 – Insurance Bureau of Canada joined with Toronto Police in announcing the initial results from Project Heat (Help Eliminate Auto Theft). In the first three weeks of the latest round of Project Heat, Toronto Police have laid charges against 59 individuals in connection with
auto theft. As a result of the project, an additional 350 charges have been laid in association with other criminal activity. IBC assisted the police by providing data to aid in the investigation of potentially stolen vehicles, and by creating flyers that were handed out by police to the public.

“Project Heat is prime example of what we can achieve together in the fight against auto theft,” says Terri MacLean, Executive Vice-President, Information and Investigations. “Insurance Bureau of Canada continues to work with Toronto Police and law enforcement agencies across the country because we recognize that partnerships are key in the battle against auto theft,” adds MacLean.

IBC is calling on all levels of government to join in the fight against auto theft. “The Criminal Code needs to define auto theft as a specific offence and appropriate sentencing needs to be attributed to those who commit this crime. The courts must also take these crimes more seriously by handing down appropriate sentences,” adds MacLean.

The overall cost of auto theft to Canadians is $1 billion annually when the cost for police, health care and prosecution are added. Auto theft accounts for $600 million in insurance losses annually. This translates into $48 per insurance policy. As Project Heat demonstrates, auto theft is often connected with many forms of criminal activity and has been linked to terrorism here in North America.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada.