The year's most stolen vehicles
This year’s rundown of Canada’s most stolen vehicles is an interesting mix — with a few entries near the top that may surprise you.
Pickups led the way in Alberta and Atlantic Canada, while SUVs and sedans were the top targets among thieves in Ontario and Quebec.
Your car insurance premiums can vary substantially based on your location, partly because of the differing risk of theft. So it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best rates.
Just as the average person’s desire for online convenience has left them more vulnerable to cyber security threats, modern tech — particularly push-button ignition systems — has made stealing a car easier than ever.
Thieves have multiple ways of lifting keyless cars, and they don’t need your fob to do it. Instead, they rely on information, found online, that can be used to trick a car into starting.
If a thief knows your car’s make, model, vehicle identification number and what kind of fuel it takes, stealing a car can be as easy as locating it in the right database and using the information available to bypass or reconfigure the starting process with a few taps on a cellphone screen.
A similar technique involves breaking into the car physically and accessing the car’s on-board diagnostics port. York Regional Police in Ontario have recently discovered a tool used by thieves that can be used to effectively reprogram a new key for a vehicle by accessing its on-board display.
An older fob-related method still widely used is known as “relay theft,” in which thieves use an instrument to strengthen the radio frequency of a key fob and copy the signal on a fob of their own.
Police are also starting to find Apple AirTags tracking devices on various vehicles, which allow thieves to track a car until it reaches a safe location for them to steal it.
Gast isn’t optimistic about authorities’ or car manufacturers’ ability to keep cars in owners’ driveways.
“It takes manufacturers years to change out easily-beat systems, but it takes the thieves about half a day to defeat those changes,” he says.
4 ways to keep your car safe
All is not lost, humble car owner. There are steps you can take to make your vehicle less susceptible to being swiped:
- Steering wheel locks, like the once-ubiquitous Club, won’t stop thieves from getting around your keyless entry, but they will make the getaway more of a challenge.
- Data port locks prevent thieves from accessing your car’s onboard diagnostic port and programming a new key. Physical versions cover the port itself; electronic locks prevent the diagnostics port from communicating with a car’s electronic control unit.
- A faraday box, by blocking your fob’s signal, can prevent it from being detected and copied. Just drop your keys inside and close the lid.
- A secure parking spot, like a locked or supervised garage, can be worth the expense. A parking space on a well-lit street can sometimes be a deterrent, too.
And it should go without saying that If you’re driving one of the cars on this year’s list and are worried about it being stolen, you need to make sure your car insurance is up to date and suited to your needs. While you’re at it, compare the rates on offer at multiple providers and make sure you’re not overpaying.