Auto Theft

April 2024

Auto theft in Toronto has reached epidemic proportions.  In December 2023, more than 1,000 vehicles were stolen.

Auto thefts and carjackings more than doubled in Toronto, Peel and York Region from 2021 to 2022, according to a December 2023 report by the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada (CISC).  Auto thefts and carjackings have never been higher and continue their dramatic rise in 2024.

Ontario’s top three most stolen vehicles in 2022 were the Honda CR-V, Lexus RX Series and Dodge RAM 1500 Series.

Simple precautions can reduce the risk of vehicle theft or the loss of property from your vehicle.


  • To sell the vehicle or parts – Often thieves will take your car out of the province or country. Identification numbers may be altered or removed, ownership certificates forged, parts sold or the vehicle repainted.
  • For transportation – Thieves will use your vehicle to get where they want to go and later abandon it. They may just drive your vehicle around to gain ‘status’ with their friends.
  • To commit other crimes – Vehicles are stolen and used in other crimes such as robberies, break and enters, drug dealing or drive-by shootings.
  • For vehicle cloning – Vehicles are stolen, given a fraudulent identification number and then sold to unsuspecting persons who are defrauded of their money. Fraudulent vehicles will be located and seized by the Police.


When parking your vehicle:

  • Turn ignition off and TAKE the keys with you.
  • Park in a well-lighted, attended area if possible.
  • Lock all valuables in your trunk.
  • Completely close and lock doors and windows.
  • Turn your wheels towards the curb to make it harder to tow.

When at home:

  • If you have a garage, use and lock it.
  • If you have a rear-wheel drive car, back into driveway.
  • If you have a front-wheel drive car, park front end first.
  • Always set the emergency brake.
  • Don’t leave the original ownership or insurance cards in the vehicle when unattended.
  • Drop business cards or address labels inside doors to assist with vehicle identification.

Other important tips:

  • Never hide a spare key in the vehicle, thieves know where to find it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and drive with your doors locked.
  • Be aware when purchasing a vehicle.  If the deal sounds too good to be true…it probably is!
  • Never leave ANYTHING on display when you leave your vehicle. This includes purses left in the front seat when pumping gas and power chords to run and charge devices as these may attract thieves to your vehicle.
  • Consider an alarm – Consider installing an alarm if you regularly leave your vehicle in accessible unattended places such as a parking garage or a commuter parking lot. Remember to always take anti-theft precautions regardless of whether you have an alarm, as it can only be expected to improve your chances of not being a victim.

Tips when parking your vehicle:

  • Remove any item that you do not want to lose from your vehicle as hiding them discourages theft – REMEMBER, they CAN’T steal what’s not there!
  • Lock all parcels and shopping bags in the trunk of your vehicle.


  • Have an Ignition Kill Switch installed – The ignition kill switch will prevent your vehicle from starting without it being turned on. As only you will know its hidden location, it is a good deterrent against thieves.  In the event that you have this switch installed, contact your insurer and ask for a discount.
  • Window Etchings – Have your vehicle’s windows etched with your Vehicle Identification Number. This is a visual deterrent that is costly for thieves to change.
  • Visible Steering Wheel Lock – A visual deterrent to a thief.
  • Consider installing a Vehicle Tracking System – A vehicle tracking system uses GPS technology to locate and track your vehicle.


Report the theft to the Police immediately.

You should be ready to report the following vehicle information:

  • Year and make, model, colour(s)
  • Licence number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Serial numbers of all special equipment
  • Special markings – dents, scratches, other damage etc.

If your accessories are stolen, the Police will need specific information to identify these items.

For more information on crime prevention, visit the Toronto Police website .

Thank you to Toronto Police Services for providing this information which is available on their website.

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