Are auto thefts marring Canada's reputation as a safe place?

Victims said to be contemplating options, including leaving

Are auto thefts marring Canada's reputation as a safe place?

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

Canada is generally a safe place by global standards, but has the national auto theft crisis become so bad that victims' options now include leaving the country?

In the case of auto theft victim Kamran Hussain, fleeing the country is now a consideration. The 30-year-old, whose 2022 Toyota Highlander was stolen in January, came to Canada in 2017 as an international student and has since transitioned to permanent resident status.

Among his considerations when he picked Canada as his new home was safety—something he is now doubting.

A report by The Canadian Press quoted him saying, “I left my country (India) because of the instability there. But now, with the growing issues that are happening here in terms of safety, thefts, break-ins, and rising crime, it is a big concern for me.”

Hussain conceded he is now exploring his options.

In 2022, records were broken when private auto insurers in Canada collectively paid out $1.2 billion in theft claims. In February, the government announced new federal funding amounting to $15 million as part of the country’s fight against auto theft.

A substantial portion of the investment, $9.1 million, was allocated to provincial, territorial, and municipal police forces through the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime. INTERPOL’s joint transnational vehicle crime project was allotted $3.5 million.

“Local police services from across the country play a crucial role in combatting auto theft,” Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc said at the time. “As was highlighted at the recent National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft, collaboration is essential to combatting this crime efficiently. The investment we are making will enable police services to further strengthen their cooperation.”

Meanwhile, according to The Canadian Press, other options being looked at by auto theft victims include making car manufacturers accountable for the ‘easy to steal’ vehicles they produce.

The publication quoted 52-year-old Laura Paquette, whose truck was stolen, saying: “Why is it on the consumer to protect ourselves? Vehicles are big investments, so why are they so easily stolen? Why do I have to go to extremes to prevent that?”

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