By Blair Qualey
Owning a vehicle is essential for most British Columbia. Unfortunately, personal vehicles are a high target for criminal activity, and recent Statistics Canada data reveals a concerning surge in vehicle thefts across the nation. But it’s also important that as individuals, we take proactive steps to safeguard our vehicles and communities.
Statistics illustrate that Vehicle thefts in Canada saw a substantial increase between 2021 and 2022 (the latest available data) with no indication that the trend will subside. More than 105,000 vehicles were stolen in 2022, quite a significant jump from the figure of 83,000+ in 2021.
The rate of theft per 100,000 population climbed from 218 in 2021 to 271 in 2022.These increases were especially significant in Canada’s two most heavily populated provinces: Quebec saw an increase to almost 21,000 in 2022, compared to 13,700 thefts in 2021, while Ontario reported a spike to more than 37,000, from almost 28,000 thefts during the same period the year prior.
The federal government also announced a national summit on auto theft, scheduled for Feb. 8, to discuss the increasing severity of the issue with a goal of collective action across the board between provinces and industry officials. This collaborative effort is crucial to developing strategies to curb organized crime’s ability to profit from stolen vehicles and address the root causes of the surge.
How can we, as citizens, help prevent this and play our part in mitigating the risk of vehicle theft? Simple steps like installing GPS devices for tracking in case of theft can significantly enhance recovery efforts. And while these may seem obvious at first glance, law enforcement also recommends proactive measures like parking vehicles in well-lit areas and secure garages, utilizing steering wheel locking devices, and investing in aftermarket GPS trackers as effective precautionary steps. Adding a hidden kill switch to your car’s ignition can also stop thieves — even if they get into your car, they won’t be able to start the engine and drive away with it.
From an industry perspective, we are consistently working towards improving security initiatives and technology in the vehicles we sell, but it’s also important to be working as a community — from active law enforcement down to simply keeping an eye on your neighbourhood — being the most important first step.
Be sure not to miss the Vancouver International Auto Show, from March 21 to 24, 2024. For more information visit VancouverInternationalAutoShow.com.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C.. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.