In the cinematic world, "Grand Theft Auto" might be about reckless driving and epic heists, but in Ontario's real-life streets, a car theft epidemic is redefining the title. Let's navigate through Ontario's intricate web of car theft, its international ramifications, and how it's affecting your pocket.
Did you know? Every 48 minutes, a car alarm blares in Ontario, signalling another vehicle theft, as stated by Ontario's official channels. If you're in bustling Toronto, you're in the eye of a growing storm—a staggering 72% increase in car thefts over the last seven years! in Peel Region alone it has increased by 45% in the last 2 years. To what do we owe the sudden increase in GTA (no pun intended) auto theft? Well, it turns out the issues started in Quebec years ago. Organized crime was making a healthy living by stealing cars and shipping them from Halifax to overseas destinations, especially for luxury SUV’s. Authorities, Insurance companies and car owners have caught on and the problem has migrated from Montreal to Toronto. Burlington, Oakville and Richmond Hill are among the hardest-hit areas.
This answer takes us on a journey from Quebec to the international shores.
Montreal, known for its rich history and poutine, once bore the mark of being the "capital" for organized car theft. However, many of the organized crime theft rings have shifted their focus from Montreal to Toronto and it is Halifax, Nova Scotia that remains a popular destination for theft rings to ship these stolen goods overseas. Once packed into a shipping container the stolen vehicles will find new homes in UAE, Kuwait, Colombia and Congo among others. These luxury SUV’s are highly sought after in these countries and will fetch a pretty prize for organized crime who will often trade in drugs as well.
Certain vehicles are stolen more frequently due to their luxury status and ease of theft. Below is a list of the most stolen vehicle models in Ontario:
Addressing the rise in vehicle theft, the Ontario Government has bolstered its efforts with an investment of $51 million dedicated to combatting this form of organized crime, according to CTV News Toronto. Just recently, as of this article’s publication, an OPP operation led to the arrest of 25 individuals, who now face 300 charges related to an auto theft ring. However, the journey is far from over. As one theft ring is dismantled, another emerges, much like what happened when the trend shifted from Montreal to the GTA.
Insurance companies in Ontario have acknowledged the repeated theft of specific vehicle models. In response, they've initiated measures to mitigate the risk. Owners of the vehicles listed above might face an additional annual premium of $500. However, some insurance providers offer a respite: waiving this surcharge if the car owner installs an anti-theft device. For instance, TAG's anti-theft system is one such tool insurers recommend, with some even covering the installation costs. The underlying message from insurers is clear: reduce your vehicle's theft risk or share in the costs.
As auto theft rates climb, vehicle owners must adopt proactive measures. The first thing you can do as a consumer is ensure you have Comprehensive coverage under your auto insurance policy. If brazen thieves are stealing these vehicles right out of people’s driveways or at shopping malls at the very least make sure you have theft coverage. Secondly, an anti-theft device like TAG will make thieves think twice about taking your vehicle. They would much rather move on to the next target. Lastly, park your car in a private garage, if at all possible. Don’t let your vehicle be a sitting duck for organized crime. By blending proper coverage with effective theft deterrence methods, you not only safeguard your vehicle but also potentially enjoy lower insurance premiums.
Begin Insurance understands the nuances of Ontario's auto theft landscape. Discover tailor-made insurance solutions that offer peace of mind and comprehensive protection for your cherished vehicle.
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