Stolen vehicles impact everyone

Car theft is a growing problem globally; however the rate of autos stolen here in Canada ranks among the highest in the world. According to Stats Canada, in 2009 there were about 300 cars stolen each day.

Whether you drive an economy or a luxury car, it could be a target. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s statistics for 2009, the top five most common stolen cars in Canada were: Honda Civic, Cadillac Escalade, Acura RSX, Acura Integra, Audi S4 Quattro

Locally throughout the County of Wellington for the year 2010, local statistics show the County of Wellington OPP investigated 140 stolen vehicle complaints. These are broken down as follows:

– Automobiles 50

– Trucks/Vans 70

– Motorcycles 20

Who does this cost?

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), Canadian auto theft cost rate payers about $1 billion a year including health care expenses, court policing, legal and out of pocket costs such as deductibles. All of these loses are reflected and made up through insurance premiums, costing each Canadian policyholder about $35 on their insurance premium.

Prevent your car from being targeted

The County of Wellington OPP offers the following suggestions to prevent auto theft:

– Roll up your windows all the way when leaving your vehicle and lock it up.

– Put the key in your pocket or purse as soon as you lockup. Never leave keys in your vehicle or in the ignition. It only takes a moment for someone to jump in and drive away (20% of stolen cars have keys in them.)

– Keep your vehicle registration and proof of insurance on you, in a wallet or purse at all times- never leave these documents in the glove box.

– Don’t leave valuable items such as laptops or packages in clear view. Keep them in your trunk or out of sight.

– Always try to park in a well lit, busy area.

– If you park in your own private garage, make sure you lock both the garage and your car.

– There are auto immobilizers now on the market. If your car doesn’t have one already, the smartest thing you can do to prevent auto theft is to install an electronic immobilizer in your car. Some of the best units will cut all three vital circuits – the starter, the ignition, and the fuel for your vehicle.

The harder you make it for someone to steal your car, the more you lower your chances of having it go missing.

It never hurts to take precautions to prevent car theft.