December 1, 2003 by Canadian Underwriter
As part of a joint effort between the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the Toronto Police, 59 people now face charges in connection with auto theft.
Project Heat “help eliminate auto theft” – as it has been dubbed, involves the IBC sharing data with the police to aid in auto theft investigations, as well as preparing flyers to hand out to the public by police.
In the first three weeks of the program, along with the 59 people facing auto theft charges, another 350 charges have been laid relative to other criminal activity.
“Project Heat is prime example of what we can achieve together in the fight against auto theft,” says Terri MacLean, executive vice president, information and investigations, for the IBC. She adds that that IBC would like to see all levels of government step up to the plate against auto theft. “The Criminal Code needs to define auto theft as a specific offence and appropriate sentencing needs to be attributed to those who commit this crime. The courts must also take these crimes more seriously by handing down appropriate sentences.”
The IBC estimates auto theft costs Canadians $1 billion annually when the cost of police, health care and prosecution are added to the actual cost of vehicles stolen, which amounts to about $600 million for insurers. Auto theft has also been linked to many other crimes, and even to terrorism in North America, the IBC notes.