These are the most-stolen vehicles in Canada in 2020 – CTV News

TORONTO —
While Ford pickup trucks usually top the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s annual ranking of the most-stolen vehicles in Canada, this year high-end SUVs have become the most desirable targets for thieves.

According to the IBC, which works with law enforcement agencies and the Canada Border Services Agency to identify stolen vehicles, the 2018 Honda CR-V SUV is the most stolen vehicle in Canada thus far in 2020.

It was followed by the 2017 Lexus RX350, the 2017 Honda CR-V, and the 2018 Lexus RX350. Rounding out the top five was Ford’s 2018 F150 pickup truck.

Bryan Gast, the national director of investigative services at IBC, said high-end SUVs have surpassed older model Ford pickup trucks as the most targeted vehicles because thieves have developed new ways to get around their security systems and gain access to them.

“As technology advances, these vehicles, especially the SUVs, are really well sought after,” he told CTVNews.ca during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Overseas organized crime groups are targeting these vehicles and they’re finding ways to bypass the security systems.”

For example, Gast said thieves have been able to capture radio signals from a key fob and replicate it in order to gain electronic access to a vehicle.

“There are devices that are able to trigger that device to capture the signal and clone it and start your vehicle without ever touching that original key,” he explained.

And while there are many motives for vehicle theft, Gast said the findings by the IBC show a distinct increase in thefts related to organized crime and street racing.

According to the IBC, many high-end SUVs are stolen by organized crime groups to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in Canada or abroad to be stripped down for parts.

In many of these cases, Gast said the stolen vehicle’s vehicle identification number is changed before it’s sold.

In addition to organized crime operations, the IBC said street racing also led to an increase in certain vehicle thefts.

“There’s a growing trend, especially during the pandemic, in dangerous activities such as street racing and illegal gatherings for drifting events, providing a market for stolen small, speedy vehicles,” the IBC said in a press release.

Gast said these street racing events are “very concerning” to law enforcement, the insurance industry, and for the greater population because they can put public safety at risk.

“These are staged events. They’re very serious. These vehicles are being modified in significant ways,” he said. “Our concern is that there are stolen vehicles, stolen parts contributing to these events.”

THE TOP 10 MOST STOLEN VEHICLES IN CANADA IN 2020

  • 2018 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Lexus RX350/RX450H 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Ford F150 4WD PU
  • 2019 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
  • 2017 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
  • 2019 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD PU

Although high-end SUVs were the most desirable targets for thieves overall, Gast said the IBC did take note of some regional variations across the country.

For example, pickup trucks were still the most popular type of vehicles to steal out West. In Alberta, the IBC said, Ford F-series and Dodge Ram trucks were the most stolen vehicles in the province.

“These trucks are attractive to thieves, and oil and gas companies have used them almost exclusively, which has brought a disproportionately high amount of them to the province,” the IBC said.

Gast added that pre-2008 models of these pickup trucks are particularly attractive to thieves because they aren’t equipped with ignition immobilizers, which are devices that can prevent people from hot-wiring them.

“This list is different from region to region,” he said. “Those large pickup trucks are still a very hot commodity.”

In Ontario, the IBC found that Lexus and Honda vehicles were stolen most often, with many of them headed for export by organized crime groups or used in street racing rings.

In the police operation “Project Seagull” in Hamilton, for example, the IBC said high-end vehicles were being stolen and chopped for parts that were then sold on the black market.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada, the IBC found the Chevrolet Silverado was the most stolen vehicle in the region.

TIPS TO PREVENT VEHICLE THEFT

While Canadians who own one of the vehicles on the IBC’s annual list should take extra care to protect it from being stolen, Gast said all owners should be aware of the precautions they can take to avoid being the victims of theft.

“I think it’s really important to understand the different ways to protect the consumer,” he said. “Some of those can be as simple as just common sense.”

Here are some tips from the IBC to protect your vehicle.

  • Don’t leave a keyless entry fob inside of a vehicle or unprotected at the front entrance of your home.
  • Put a keyless fob in a protective box or bag that will block the radio frequency identification signal.
  • Never leave a vehicle running while it’s unattended.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
  • Lock all of the doors and windows when it’s parked.
  • Use a visible or audible device to alert thieves that the vehicle is protected.
  • Install a tracking device that emits a signal to police or a monitoring station if it’s stolen.
  • If it doesn’t have one already, install an immobilizing device in your vehicle to prevent thieves from hot-wiring it. These can include devices that require wireless ignition authentication or starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers.
  • Consider using a steering-wheel or brake-pedal lock to ward off would-be thieves.
  • Don’t leave personal information, such as insurance or ownership details, in the glove box when the vehicle is parked.