First, the good news: car thefts in Canada are on the decline. But the bad news is StatsCan latest numbers show over 108,000 vehicles were stolen in 2009 - obviously still a lot of cars.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) published its list of thetop 10 most frequently stolen vehicles, a list that includes an equal number of older import brands and luxury SUVs. Often those vehicles, particularly high-value cars like the Hummer H2 and the Cadillac Escalade, are exported out of the country, which in years past would have meant they were gone forever. But the federal government'spassage of Bill S-9- a law that gives the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) increased authority to seize stolen cars meant for export - has helped stem the flow of contraband cars out of the country, particularly at ports in Montreal and Halifax. In fact, IBC reports it recovered $30.7 million dollars worth of vehicles, including the seizure of 600 automobiles meant for export.
Professional thieves likely target specific vehicles, and they aren't all newer models - if you think no one would want to steal your 11-year old Honda Civic, think again. Here are the top 10 most stolen vehicles in Canada:
1.2000 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
2.1999 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
3.2002 Cadillac Escalade 4-door 4WD
4.2004 Cadillac Escalade 4-door 4WD
5.2005 Acura RSX Type S 2-door
6.1997 Acura Integra 2-door
7.2000 Audi S4 Quattro 4-door AWD
8.2003 Hummer H2 4-door AWD
9.2006 Acura RSX Type S 2-door
10.2004 Hummer H2 4-door AWD
Bill S-9 is a step forward, but as long as people are careless with their vehicles, car thefts will continue to be a problem. According to the IBC, about 20 per cent of stolen vehicles had the keys in them - practically an invitation to even the most amateur thief. Anti-theft devices like alarms, GPS trackers and engine immobilizers are always recommended as a way to prevent theft, but a few simple steps can greatly reduce the chance that your car will be stolen.
- Make sure your windows are rolled all the way up, your doors are locked and you're carrying the key
- Keep your vehicle registration and insurance certificate with you, don't leave it in the car
- Keep valuables out of view - if you have to keep them in the car, lock them in the trunk
- Never leave your car unattended while it's running - you don't want to leave your car warming up in the winter and find it's gone when you return
- Try to park in busier, well-lit areas and close to other cars
- Park in a garage at home if you can, and make sure both the car doors and the garage door are locked