How to prevent the number one crime in Canada

Car theft

In the past decade, Canada has become the car theft capital of North America. According to Statistics Canada, one car is stolen every three minutes. Car theft makes up more than one third of all property crimes in this country and costs consumers, police, insurance companies and the government more than $1 billion annually.

Cars in cities along the major waterways such as Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver are more likely to be stolen. This is because more than 30 per cent of stolen cars in Canada are exported to other countries. The rest are given false identification numbers and resold to unsuspecting consumers or are chopped up for parts.

Just because you drive a mid-priced, four-door sedan, don’t think it’s not a target for thieves. Economy cars are just as likely to be stolen as luxury cars. The Vehicle Information Centre of Canada reports the top three most-frequently stolen vehicles are the Hyundai Tiburon, the VW Golf, and the Acura Integra.

What does a high auto-theft rate mean for your insurance?

According to the Insurance Crime Prevention Bureau, vehicle theft costs insurers about $600-million annually. Who pays for all these costs? You do. We all do. These losses are made up through our insurance premiums.

Insurers look at where you live when they calculate your insurance premiums. If you live in an area that has a high auto theft rate, you will probably be paying a higher price for your insurance than if you lived in an area where your car was less likely to be stolen. This means that if you were moving from a small town to a large city on a waterway such as Montreal or Toronto, it would likely cost more to insure your vehicle.

Auto theft prevention

Follow these simple tips from the Vehicle Information Centre of Canada to help deter car thieves.

- Always lock your vehicle.
- Never leave your keys in an unattended vehicle. Many vehicles are regularly stolen from store parking lots and gas stations.
- Use good judgment in choosing parking locations.
- When parking at airports, and other large pay parking lots, never leave the parking claim check in the vehicle.
- Keep valuables, especially cellular telephones and laptop computers, out of sight.
- If your vehicle is equipped with a security system, make sure it is in good working order and activated. Your owner’s manual or dealership should be able to answer any questions about your system.
- Factory-installed security systems are sometimes deactivated when remote control starters are installed. If you have a remote starter, or intend to have one installed, ask your installer how it will affect your security system.

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