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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Canada becomes ‘car theft capital of the world’ as thousands of vehicles vanish annually

Canada ranks among the top 10 countries for car thefts globally, according to Interpol. Stolen cars are used for violent crimes, sold domestically, or shipped overseas for resale.

Canada has recently earned a grim new title as the ‘car theft capital of the world,’ with a staggering 105,000 vehicles stolen in 2022 alone.

This rate equates to one car stolen every five minutes across the nation, prompting severe concerns from both national and international authorities.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has called the situation a ‘national crisis,’ with INTERPOL now actively involved.

“In recent years, Canada has emerged as a key source country for stolen motor vehicles,” INTERPOL said. “Many of the vehicles are shipped to the Middle East and West Africa, where they are traded or re-sold.”

The scale of the problem is underscored by the fact that more than 1,500 stolen Canadian vehicles have been detected globally since February 2024.

INTERPOL’s data reveals that around 200 more stolen cars are identified each week, often at international ports.

The impact on insurers has been severe, with payouts surpassing £860 million (C$1.5 billion) last year, a threefold increase from 2018. “This alarming trend highlights the urgent need for better measures to combat vehicle theft and trafficking,” an IBC spokesperson said.

In an effort to combat the car theft crisis, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have successfully intercepted 598 stolen vehicles, valued at approximately £19.7 million (C$34.5 million), before they could be shipped out of the country.

The majority of these vehicles, with an estimated resale value of C$34.5 million, were from Ontario. This operation marks a significant step in curbing the crisis, as reported by the BBC.

Canada ranks among the top 10 countries for car thefts globally, according to Interpol. Stolen cars are used for violent crimes, sold domestically, or shipped overseas for resale.

Despite these efforts, the justice system struggles to keep pace. In Ontario, car thefts surged by 34% in 2022, but car theft charges rose by only 4%, leaving many criminals unprosecuted.

The crisis has hit close to home, affecting high-profile individuals like Canada’s federal justice minister, whose government-issued Toyota Highlander XLE was stolen twice.

Authorities and citizens alike are calling for more robust measures to address this growing issue.

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