Be Aware of Auto Theft

The rate of auto theft in Toronto has risen steadily in recent years, increasing by 81 per cent since 2017, the Toronto Police Service is reporting. According to police chief James Ramer, 68 vehicles have been reported stolen so far this year, which is nearly twice as many as at this point last year.

Seven were charged by police this week following an eight month investigation targeting a car theft ring operating primarily along the Yonge Street Corridor between Sheppard and Finch Avenues looking for high-end cars like Lamborghinis, McLarens, Rolls Royce, Bentleys, Porsche and Mercedes Benz models. Willowdale has been an area of concern for police over several years.

Thieves regularly develop new and sophisticated ways to steal cars, which means motorists need to be vigilant at all times. Here are some tips to help protect your vehicle from theft:

• If your vehicle has a remote starter, don’t let it run unattended. Opportunistic thieves often target vehicles warming up unattended in driveways.

• Keep your key fob farther inside your home, rather than near the front door, or in a Faraday container. Car thieves are increasingly using technology that allows them to unlock vehicles by interfering with key fobs’ electronic signals. A fob that is farther inside is less prone to interference from outside.

• Faraday containers, conductive boxes and pouches used to block electromagnetic fields, can be purchased from major retailers like Canadian Tire and Walmart, though it’s also possible to make your own Faraday container.

• Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even while driving. Close the sunroof and windows when parked.

• If your vehicle doesn’t have an anti-theft system, install one. Also consider installing a vehicle immobilizer system or tracking system.

• Avoid leaving valuables in your car where passersby can see them.

• Be aware of unexpected vehicle theft techniques like the “bump-and-rob,” in which a carjacker might bump a car from behind and steal it when the driver gets out to look at the damage.

• If you plan to leave your car behind while travelling, consider placing it with friends or family, asking someone to monitor it or leaving it at a professional storage facility.