2022 was a challenging year for auto theft in the SAHRA area. We closed out 2022 with 34 auto thefts versus 12 in 2021 representing an increase of 183%. In December we experienced five thefts which was the highest month in 2022. This significant increase aligns with what is occurring across the City of Toronto which experienced 9,439 thefts in the full year. This was a 45% increase over 2021. The charts below illustrate the monthly thefts. As of January 22, 2023, City-wide thefts had increased 61% over the same period in 2022.
On January 20th, we met with Bryan Gast, VP of Investigative Services for Equite which is an arm of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Some key take aways from the meeting were:
- Canada is considered a source nation for stolen vehicles – Ontario taking the largest hit
- Organized crime is leading the thefts
- Vehicles are being shipped out of the country, undetected in containers, through ports (Montreal, Halifax, St. John)
- A vehicle like a Land Rover costs approximately $100,000 Cdn – thieves are selling for $250-300,000 US in some overseas locales
- Technology continues to be enhanced – thieves can use smartphones to mimic a key fob
- Thieves deactivate immobilizer/horn/lights by cutting wires accessible behind front fender
- Some new cars now have fobs that go into “sleep” mode requiring the user to wake them. This makes it harder for thieves accessing vehicles using a “relay” attack.
- Catalytic converters are also being stolen
- Residents need to focus on layers of protection as previously mentioned – GARAGE IS BEST – also Faraday pouch or box/The Club or wheel lock/OBD port lock/ aftermarket tracking services such as Tag, headquartered in Quebec
- Auto theft is less of an issue in the US vs Canada. One reason: Penalty for auto theft is harsher in US
- Dodge Ram and Jeep are high on the auto theft list right now
- If thieves do not have the technology to steal a vehicle, they carjack instead
- Regarding legislative changes – they are looking at US to see what we can replicate
CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT
The USA is experiencing a significant increase in catalytic converter theft. We know it is occurring in Canada but it is difficult to get numbers. We recently had a report of a converter theft in our area.
Catalytic converters are stolen because they have one or more of three precious metals that have increased significantly in value: platinum ($43/g), palladium ($67/g), and rhodium ($450/g). In most cars, the catalytic converter has 3-7 grams of these metals, although some vehicles may have as much as 30 grams.
BREAK AND ENTER
During the month of December, we had zero house break and enters. SAHRA’s area experienced 8 in 2022. This was up considerably from 2021 when we had zero but still considerably lower than the 26 experienced in 2017.
January brought 2 B&E’s during the month. We will continue to monitor B&E’s as we move through 2023.