The road to improving auto theft numbers has taken a negative turn for the second year in a row, increasing 6% nationally in 2016 over 2015, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports in its newly released Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles list.
“For the second consecutive year, auto theft across Canada has ticked higher,” Amanda Dean, IBC’s vice president, Atlantic, notes in a bureau statement.
“After large declines in auto theft activity over the last decade, the number of stolen vehicles has gone up 6% nationally compared to last year,” Dean reports.
Stolen vehicles across the country numbered 78,849, says Garry Robertson, national director of investigative services for IBC. “The biggest increases were in Alberta, where stolen vehicle numbers are up 32% and Prince Edward Island where they are up 19%.”
Stolen vehicles – a process that can take less than a minute – may be shipped overseas, where they are sold to consumers who do not necessarily know they are buying a stolen car; they may be scrapped for parts; or they might be used to commit another crime.
Nationally, once again, Ford trucks and high-priced SUVs feature prominently in the national list, with it clearly showing that “criminals continue to favour all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, older, high-end vehicles,” Robertson says.
The 2016 national top 10 list of most frequently stolen vehicles is as follows:
2007 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pick-up;
2006 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pick-up;
2005 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pick-up;
2004 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pick-up;
2003 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pick-up;
2015 Toyota 4Runner 4-door 4WD SUV;
2003 Cadillac Escalade 4-door 4WD SUV;
2002 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pick-up;
2006 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4WD Pick-up; and
2010 Acura ZDX 4-door AWD SUV.
This year, IBC has published a list for each one of its regional offices.
Atlantic Canada saw improved auto theft figures in most provinces of the region, although not all. There were declines in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, says Dean, but incidents of theft were up a staggering 19% on Prince Edward Island.
This year’s 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in IBC’s Atlantic region are as follows:
2004 Cadillac DeVille Sedan;
2012 MINI Cooper 2-door Coupe;
2001 Acura 1.7EL Sedan;
2013 Ford Mustang GT/Boss 302 2-door Coupe;
2003 Dodge Ram 2500 4WD Pick-up;
2004 Nissan Maxima Sedan;
2002 Jeep TJ 4WD SUV;
2012 Nissan Maxima Sedan;
2002 Ford Mustang 2-door Convertible; and
2000 Chevrolet Impala Sedan.
The experience in Atlantic Canada shows size is no barrier, with auto thieves open to stealing vehicles big and small. “Across the region, we see that thieves do not discriminate when it comes to make, model or year,” Dean states.
That said, older large and small vehicles dominate the list for the region. Most vehicles stolen in Atlantic Canada are stolen for parts, IBC reports, with thieves selling the parts to unknowing consumers.
“In most cases, the vehicles stolen in Atlantic Canada still had the keys inside them,” Dean points out, emphasizing the importance of vigilance. “A vehicle left running unattended is not only easy to steal, it has increased value as a stolen vehicle because it comes with the keys,” she explains.
Beyond never leaving a vehicle running when unattended, it is advisable to park in well-lit areas, close the windows and lock the doors, put valuables in the trunk, park in the garage at night, and not leave personal information (such as insurance and ownership documents) in the glove box when the vehicle is parked.
In Ontario, high-end luxury SUVs are the most commonly stolen vehicles in the province. The number of thefts has increased by 5%, reports Kim Donaldson, IBC’s vice president, Ontario for IBC.
“Many of the high-end vehicles that are stolen in Ontario will end up in overseas markets,” Donaldson continues.
The most stolen vehicles in Ontario are as follows:
2015 Toyota 4Runner 4-door 4WD SUV;
2014 Toyota 4Runner 4-door 4WD SUV;
2003 Hummer H2 4-door AWD SUV;
2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD and 2003 GMC Yukon 4WD SUVs;
2015 Lexus RX350/RX450h 4-door AWD SUVs;
2002 Cadillac Escalade 4-door 4WD SUV;
2015 Acura MDX 4-door 4WD SUV;
2011 Range Rover Sport 4-door 4WD SUV;
2004 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD and 2004 GMC Yukon 4WD SUVs; and
2005 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD and 2005 GMC Yukon XL 1500 4WD SUVs.
In the same vein as Ontario, the list of most frequently stolen vehicles in Quebec includes luxury SUVs.
The list clearly shows “the appeal of sport utility vehicles shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, all the cars that fell into their clutches in 2015 were SUVs,” IBC reports.
Between 2013 and 2015, Quebec figures show, “the frequency of thefts dropped by 25%, but the average cost for these types of claims actually rose by 15%, from $15,428 to $17,755,” the bureau points out.
“Today’s thefts are different from what they were several years ago. Thieves no longer ‘borrow’ cars to go for a spin; they are now acting as part of organized networks, and vehicles are often stolen for resale abroad,” states Anne Morin, supervisor of communications and public affairs at IBC.
“In addition to the export market, the vehicles are stolen for resale locally to people who are unaware that they are in fact victims of fraud. The vehicles are also dismantled and sold for parts or used to commit other crimes,” Morin notes.
This year, the 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in Quebec are the following:
Toyota 4Runner 4P 2015 Truck/Van;
Toyota 4Runner 4P 2014 Truck/Van;
Lexus RX350 4P 2013 Truck/Van;
Lexus RX350 4P 2015 Truck/Van;
Toyota FJ Cruiser 4P 2011 Truck/Van;
Infiniti QX60 4P 2015 Truck/Van;
BMW 335xi 2P 2008;
Toyota 4Runner 4P 2013 Truck/Van;
Lexus RX350 4P 2014 Truck/Van; and
Lexus IS 300 4P 2002.
As for IBC’s Western and Pacific region, the top 10 appears includes different model years of the Ford F350 SD 4WD PU and the Ford F250 SD 4WD PU.
“Once again, Ford trucks are the most commonly stolen vehicles in the Western and Pacific region,” notes an IBC statement.
“In Alberta, we have seen the largest increase in all of Canada with auto thefts up a whopping 32%,” says Bill Adams, vice president, Western and Pacific for IBC.
“Unfortunately, many of the vehicles stolen in this region will never be recovered,” Adams suggests.
In Western Canada, he points out, “many vehicles are stolen by thieves with the purpose of committing auto insurance fraud.”