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What are your auto theft prevention options?

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on June 21st, 2023

Every 48 minutes a vehicle is stolen in Ontario.

The Province announced this May it would be spending $51 million over three years to try to fight auto theft, which the government says has increased 14 per cent in the last year alone. The measures are aimed at dismantling organized crime groups and bringing criminals to justice. Some of the money will go toward creating an OPP-led organized crime and auto theft team.

Nationwide, auto theft rates also continue to rise. According to recent data, from January to April 2023, the number of vehicles reported stolen in Canada increased by 26.5 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.

The type of vehicle you drive can make it a target. The Top 10 list of Most Stolen Vehicles in 2022 released by Équité Association named the Honda CR-V, followed by the Lexus RX Series (2016-2021) and the Ford 150 Series truck as the most attractive to thieves.

Both Toronto and Montreal are rich hunting grounds for organized auto theft crime rings that funnel stolen vehicles overseas to sell for profit. While they may be hubs, it’s a national $1-billion business of auto theft rings that supplies clients, unscrupulous dealers and chop shops with cars and auto parts.

This costs Canadian drivers almost $1 billion each year, more than half of which - about $542 million - is spent by insurance companies to fix or replace stolen vehicles.

So, while governments and police wrestle with the problem, what can you do to deter car thieves? As a vehicle owner you have several options:

Steering wheel lock –This elongated bar is attached to the steering wheel and makes it impossible to fully turn the car. The most well-known is The Club. It has a universal fit so it works on cars, SUVs and trucks. It is designed to be resistant to sawing, prying or other removal efforts. According to reviews it’s most effective when you leave your steering wheel at an angle. The Club also has three laser encrypted keys that cannot be duplicated. A similar version of this would be a brake lock that fits around the brake or clutch pedal of your car, making it impossible for the pedal to be used until the lock is removed. It can also be attached to both the steering wheel and brake.

Security tire clamp –This device clamps onto one of your wheels which makes it impossible to fully rotate. It is also highly visible thanks to its yellow paint. It comes with keys, rubber-tipped ends to protect the wheel and fits motorcycles, RVs, cars and trucks. If you don’t mind getting on your hands and knees to install this every time you park, this device offers peace of mind.

Security alarm systems – Newer vehicles have alarms built in, but if you don’t have one you can install a wireless anti-theft security alarm on the inside of your door. A loud alarm will go off should a thief try to break into your vehicle. You can also add a keyless entry security alarm system that works with your key FOB at various distances. Some are even compatible with your cell phone and will kill the starter while the alarm is in progress. The more advanced ones - for a price - include door, hood, trunk and impact sensors to detect intrusion into your vehicle.

Tracking devices– A tracking device doesn’t necessarily prevent theft but it does help recover vehicles. A TAG Tracking System, for example, is a North American provider of Anti-Theft Recovery Systems. The insurers Aviva and Traders are providing customers with models considered to be at high risk of theft with the opportunity to have the $400 device installed for free at Speedy Auto Glass on or before July 1, 2023. TAG devices are discreetly hidden inside and a small logo is etched on the windshield and passenger windows, serving as an additional deterrent. Once installed, the vehicle owner receives a personalized wallet card that includes the TAG ID number required to track and recover the vehicle should it ever be stolen.

Anti-theft alert signs/decals – Sometimes a decal is all it takes to deter a thief. This less expensive method may trick thieves into thinking your car is decked out with an active alarm system.

While all of these things can help, so does using common sense. The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers vehicle owners these tips:

  1. Lock your doors and roll up the windows.Remember to close your sunroof too!
  2. Don’t leave your keys or car running unattended.Cooling off or heating your vehicle isn’t worth having it stolen.
  3. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight or in the glove box. The more that is visible, the more tempting for thieves. Put items in your trunk.
  4. Park in a safe area –Use the garage. If you must park on the street, put your vehicle in a well-lit area.
  5. Install a home security camera – Make sure the camera has a clear view of your car and can easily be seen from the street.
  6. Protect your key fob –Don't leave a keyless entry fob in a vehicle or unprotected at the front entrance of your home. Thieves can use wireless transmitters to intercept the signal, giving them access to the vehicle. Consider storing fobs in a protective box or bag that blocks the signal.

Even if you follow these good habits and use a theft prevention device, you can still become a victim. If your vehicle is stolen, contact the police and your insurance company immediately. And remember if personal items, such as a cell phone, golf clubs or laptop, are stolen from your car it will be your home, tenant or condo insurance that will cover it.


Top 10 stolen vehicles in 2022    

Top 10 stolen vehicles of 2021 revealed  


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