5 ways to fight auto theft

The insurance industry continues the battle against fraud and theft

Last month the federal government passed Bill S-9, Tackling Auto Theft and Property Obtained by Crime Act, which gives Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) the authority to seize stolen vehicles intended for export.

The new law made changes to the criminal code, including a separate offence for motor vehicle theft supported by tough sentences, the offence of altering, destroying or removing a vehicle identification number (VIN), and the offences of trafficking property obtained by crime and possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking.

Bill S-9 is a step in the right direction, however, auto theft and fraud is an ongoing concern for consumers and the insurance industry.

“In addition to sophisticated crime rings that operate as businesses, transportation theft (or so-called ‘joy riding’) still exists,” said Lindsay Olson, vice-president, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Insurance Bureau Canada (IBC). “This type of theft is committed by someone just looking for a car that’s easy to steal, which can be used for transportation or to commit other crimes. The difference is that cars stolen for these purposes are often abandoned and found. Cars stolen by organized crime rings disappear.”

A professional thief can steal a car in about 30 seconds, according to IBC. Many vehicles do not have an approved electronic immobilizer, which prevents thieves from starting a vehicle without the key.

IBC has release the following safety measures that drivers can take to help protect their vehicles from theft:

1) Roll up car windows, lock the doors and pocket the key.

2) Keep the vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance in a purse or wallet at all times, not in the glovebox.

3) Never leave valuable objects or packages in full view. Put them in the trunk.

4) Never leave a vehicle running unattended when getting a coffee or when the vehicle is warming up on the driveway. Approximately 20% of stolen cars have keys in them.

5) Always park in a well-lit and busy area. At home, park in a garage if possible and lock both the garage and car doors.

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