According to Statistics Canada, there were 73,000 incidents of motor vehicle theft reported by police across the country in 2013. This amounts to a rate of 207 thefts for every 100,000 people. Alberta enjoys the dubious honor of being the Canadian province with the highest ratio, at 395 incidents for every 100,000 residents.
Motor vehicle theft is much more than just an inconvenience that leads to insurance claims. Stolen cars create an expensive financial and social chain reaction. Every year, automobile theft costs Canadians nearly $1 billion, with $542 million going to insurers to repair or replace stolen vehicles. An additional $250 million is spent on police work, health care, court system and correctional services costs.
There are many reasons why a criminal might target your car for theft. Resale, parts stripping or using a vehicle in the process of committing another crime are just a few of the typical motivations for auto theft. But, as is the case with many negative experiences in our daily lives, prevention is 99 percent of the battle. Here are 8 ways to deter thieves from stealing your car.
- Technology Works – Research shows that the installation of a security system in your vehicle can cut theft risk by nearly 70%. Make sure it is in good working order and activated whenever you’re not driving.
- Don’t Neglect to Double Check – Most of us are in a perpetual hurry. However, taking a few extra seconds to ensure your automobile is properly locked before you walk away can mean the difference between driving home without incident calling the police to report a theft.
- Pay Attention at the Pump – Did you know that cars are regularly stolen from car parking lots and gas stations? Never leave your keys in an unattended vehicle, even for a short time.
- Stay out of the Shadows – Using good judgment in the selection of parking spaces can save you a lot of trouble. Park your car in well-lit, high-traffic areas whenever possible and give some forethought to area conditions upon your return.
- Public Lots Are Hot Spots – While remote airport parking and other large pay lots can be a tremendous convenience, always take your claim check with you, rather than leaving it in the vehicle. A visible ticket can make your car an easy mark.
- Don’t Use Your Car for Storage – Visible valuables inside a vehicle, such as laptop computers, golf clubs and other big ticket items can make your automobile an extra attractive prospect to thieves.
- Pull Into the Garage – For those that have off-street parking at home, regular use of it is highly recommended. It may sound simple but if a thief can’t see your car, he or she can’t steal it.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings – Carjacking remains a very real threat. Stay alert behind the wheel and keep all doors locked. Even if you're safely in the vehicle, don't let your guard down.
With over 607 cars on the road for every 1,000 Canadians, motor vehicle theft remains one of the most common crimes in the country. While it’s next to impossible to predict and prevent every possible threat to your car, following these best practices, and retaining the right insurance coverage, can go a long way toward limiting damage and helping you recover from a loss. For more information, talk to an experienced HUB broker.