Organized crime drives Canada's vehicle theft crisis

Report says a car is stolen every six minutes

Organized crime drives Canada's vehicle theft crisis

Motor & Fleet

By Mika Pangilinan

A new report from the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association (CFLA) has shed light on the rising number of vehicle thefts in Canada.

According to CFLA, Canada’s vehicle theft crisis has been progressively worsening over the past seven years, with Toronto alone experiencing 9,606 thefts in 2022, which is a threefold increase compared to the 3,284 thefts reported in 2015.

Furthermore, a total of 27,495 vehicle thefts were reported across Ontario in 2021. Despite these high numbers, only five individuals faced charges for offenses related to altering, removing, or destroying a vehicle identification number. In fact, between 2015 and 2020, the province saw no more than four individuals charged per year for such crimes.

CLFA also indicated that a vehicle is stolen every six minutes across the country. Additionally, in 2019, 17 other metropolitan areas in Canada reported higher per capita vehicle theft rates than Toronto.

Organized crime at the core of crisis

CFLA identified organized crime as the primary driver behind the vehicle theft crisis in Canada, echoing findings from a similar report from Équité Association, a group dedicated to combatting insurance fraud.

The profits generated from these thefts are used to fund a range of illicit activities, the CFLA report said, including drug trafficking, firearms smuggling, tax evasion, money laundering, and terrorism.

“Vehicle theft in Canada is rising exponentially, with organized crime becoming more adept at maintaining their revenue flow from stolen vehicles,” said CFLA president and CEO Michael Rothe. “We urgently need public education programs on theft prevention, the re-establishment of provincial auto theft teams, and protocols for reporting financed vehicles exported through identity theft.”

CFLA also highlighted the various methods employed by vehicle thieves. In one example, the group said thieves take advantage of vehicles left running in driveways during winter.

Some also make use of sophisticated techniques involving the remote copying of electronic key fob settings and overriding the vehicle’s diagnostic system.

CFLA said criminals employ different tactics such as dismantling the stolen vehicles and selling their individual parts on the black market overseas, often with new vehicle identification numbers.

What are your thoughts on this story? Feel free to comment below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!