Auto Theft in Canada

Did you know?
-- Since 1997 automobile theft rates have been gradually declining. 

Motor vehicle theft is a crime that affects many Canadians, both directly and indirectly. The financial cost to consumers, police, insurance companies and governments has been estimated by the Insurance Bureau of Canada at more than $1 billion annually. Stolen vehicles that become involved in police chases or reckless driving can cause injury or death to innocent bystanders.  According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, each year approximately 40 people die and another 65 are injured as a result of motor vehicle thefts (ICBC, n.d.).

Across Canada there is a very wide variance in the underlying reasons for vehicle theft. In the west, higher theft rates are experienced but there are also very high vehicle recovery rates. This is generally attributed to the fact that the thieves are either teenage 'joy riders' or drug addicts who use their vehicles for transportation then abandon them. In Quebec and Ontario, theft rates are lower and their vehicle recovery rates are also much lower. Their problem is generally considered to be organized crime in which vehicles are disassembled (chopped) and resold as parts. They also have a significant problem with vehicle re-birthing (in which all of the identifying tags are switched and the vehicle sold) and the export of stolen vehicles to other countries.

In 2007, police reported approximately 146,000 motor vehicle thefts, an average of about 400 stolen vehicles per day.  More than half (54%) were cars; another 35% were trucks, vans or SUVs; 4% were motorcycles and the remaining 8% were other types of vehicles.

Motor Vehicle Theft Rates in 2007

Motor Vehicle Theft Rate by Province, 2007