Organized criminals find local market for popular pickup truck
Toronto, ON (Dec. 13, 2012) – Insurance Bureau of Canada released today its annual list of the top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in Canada. This year there is a new, but returning, hot target for thieves – the 2000 Honda Civic SiR 2DR. In fact Civics take up the top two places in this year’s list. Civics have always been high on the list. It’s a popular vehicle for young people and many of them are stolen and chopped for parts.
The Civic replaces the 2009 Toyota Venza 4-door, which was last year’s number one most frequently stolen vehicle nationally but is the second most stolen vehicle in Quebec. But more than the change of the top target, investigators are seeing new trends and have more warnings for unsuspecting victims.
The top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in Canada are:
- 2000 Honda Civic Sir 2-door
- 1999 Honda CIVIC SiR 2-door
- 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS 4-door 4WD
- 2007 Ford F350 SD 4WD Pick-Up
- 2005 Cadillac Escalade 4-door AWD
- 2006 Ford F350 SD 4WD Pick-Up
- 2002 Cadillac Escalade 4-door 4WD
- 2005 Ford F350 SD 4WD Pick-Up
- 2004 Ford F350 SD 4WD Pick-Up
- 1999 Acura Integra 2-door
Auto Theft is Big Business
Seven of the top 10 are 4 wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles, including four Ford F350 trucks.
“We are never surprised to see a lot of all-terrain vehicles on the list,” says Rick Dubin, Vice-President, Investigative Services, IBC. “Many of these higher-end vehicles are targeted by organized crime for shipment overseas – to places like West Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, where there is a lucrative market for big, rugged vehicles.”
He adds: “A new trend this year, however, is that Alberta seems to be emerging as a secondary market for these vehicles. IBC investigations indicate that many of the Ford trucks are being re-VINed to be sold to unsuspecting victims in Western Canada. Organized crime rings are stealing the trucks in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, changing the vehicle identification numbers (VIN), and selling them in Alberta, where there is a high demand for them.”
Auto theft is big business in Canada. The good news is that in 2011 the number of stolen vehicles in the country was down 12%, to 82,411. The bad news is that recovery rates for stolen vehicles have been low, which indicates the involvement of organized criminals, who re-VIN cars for re-sale, or chop them for parts. This is a “Buyer Beware” situation where stolen vehicles and parts are sold over the Internet for prices that seem to be too good to be true.
“We’re fighting these sophisticated crime rings on several fronts,” says Dubin. “IBC works with Canada Border Services Agency to stop stolen vehicles at the ports in Montreal and Halifax before they are exported. Since 2009, over $44 million worth of stolen vehicles intended for export have been seized as a result of this partnership.”
IBC is also encouraged that lawmakers are taking the issue of auto theft much more seriously. Case in point is the recent passage of the Federal Safe Streets and Communities Act, which added auto theft as one of the crimes for which house arrest would no longer be offered to convicted auto thieves.
“When IBC supported Bill S-9 (Auto Theft and Trafficking in Property Obtained by Crime Act), we stressed that auto theft should be considered a serious and violent crime,” says Dubin. “Stealing a car is not the same as stealing a TV. Innocent Canadians and law enforcement officers are killed or seriously injured each year as a result of auto theft. Just last week a suspected auto theft resulted in the injury of a pedestrian as well as a threat to the police officers in Toronto”.
Tips for Consumers
Don’t be tricked into buying a stolen vehicle. Consumers should buy used cars from a reputable dealer and run a car history report before making a deal. If buying a used car privately, have it inspected by a trusted mechanic. Also, to avoid having stolen parts put onto your vehicle during repairs, only deal with reputable repair shops. Your insurance company can recommend one.
It’s important to remember that a professional thief can steal your car in about 30 seconds. But there are a few simple precautions that you can take to help make the thief’s target a little harder to reach:
- Never leave your vehicle running unattended
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Always roll up your car windows, lock the doors, pocket and protect your keys.
- Never leave valuables or packages in full view. Put them in the trunk.
- Park your car in the garage at night
Dubin says: “Finally, this one drives me crazy and I see it all the time. People just leave their keys in the ignition, while going in for a coffee and donut or warming up their car in the morning… Approximately 20% of all stolen cars have keys in them.”
If you want to report an insurance crime call IBC’s 1-877-IBCTIPS or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222TIPS.
Click here for the most-stolen cars in previous years.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.
To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca; on Twitter, follow @insurancebureau.