Auto theft concerns surge in Ontario – survey

But insurer says residents are underestimating risks

Auto theft concerns surge in Ontario – survey

Motor & Fleet

By Mika Pangilinan

Ontarians are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise of auto theft cases across the province, a recent survey by CAA Insurance Company has shown.

Survey findings revealed that nearly half (47%) of respondents are deeply concerned about auto theft cases.

This figure was found to be even higher among residents of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, where 57% of respondents reported sharing these anxieties.

However, only 30% of those surveyed felt that their own vehicles were at risk of being stolen, suggesting that many Ontarians are underestimating the vulnerability of their cars, according to the report.

Data from the Solicitor General of Ontario shows a car is stolen every 48 minutes in the province. From 2014 to 2021, auto thefts skyrocketed by 72%, with a 14% increase in the last year alone.

"As an organization, we are deeply concerned about the rising trend of auto theft in Ontario and across the country,” said says Elliott Silverstein, director of government relations at CAA Insurance Company. “The survey results highlight the urgency of taking comprehensive action to protect our communities.”

Gaps in security

The survey also revealed how Ontarians are safeguarding their vehicles through basic security measures.

Majority (82%) of drivers surveyed said they ensure that their vehicles are always locked, while 77% said they keep valuable items out of sight. Nearly 50% of respondents reported parking their cars in locked garages.

While a significant portion were found to employ basic anti-theft measures, only a small percentage of surveyed drivers took more proactive steps to ensure their vehicle’s safety. A mere 6% use a steering wheel lock, while only 8% employ a Faraday box to block RFID signals.

Considering these figures, CAA Insurance offered the following tips to owners to deter vehicle theft:

  • Secure parked vehicles with anti-theft deterrents such as steering wheel locks, brake pedal locks, or wheel and tire lock devices
  • Store key fobs in Faraday boxes or pouches to block signals from being hacked
  • Park vehicles inside garages whenever possible, and if multiple vehicles are owned, park the less expensive one closer to the street
  • Install motion sensors and cameras on driveways to capture any suspicious activity
  • Cover the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to make it less visible to potential thieves
  • Consider storing an air tag in the vehicle to aid tracking in case of theft
  • Ensure valuable items are out of sight and never leave valuables inside the vehicle
  • Avoid leaving vehicles running and unattended, even for a short period of time
  • Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement promptly

“Auto theft can happen to anyone, and drivers need to do more than just lock their doors to make their vehicle difficult to steal,” said Silverstein. “We are urging Ontarians to take additional preventive measures to safeguard their vehicles, making them less appealing targets for thieves.”

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