Sure, it's cold and the temptation is to leave your car unlocked and running while you dash in to the local convenience store. Or you are at the gas station and leave your keys in the ignition while inside paying the attendant.
Both of these situations are invitations to steal your car and everything inside it (not to mention wasting expensive gas when left running). Organized crime in particular looks for situations like this that make your car "easy pickings" for someone fleet of foot to jump in and take off leaving you stranded and your car and personal possessions likely gone forever.
Stolen cars are a 600 Million dollar a year illicit industry in Canada. In Ontario alone over 52,000 cars are stolen a year. Sixty percent are recovered in what are called transportation crimes (used and dumped). The remainder is the result of organized enterprise auto theft. Currently 18,000 stolen vehicles are outstanding in Ontario, not including trucks, trailers or heavy equipment. The cost of auto theft to the public is 1.2 billion dollars annually, this equates to $48.00 per insurance policy holder. In Canada, forty to sixty-five deaths or injuries a year are also directly related to auto theft.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) the 2-door, 2000 Honda Civic SiR is the most stolen vehicle in 2010.
Each year, IBC releases its Top-10 list of most stolen cars. The remainder of the IBC's 2010 list is as follows:
The presence of high-value, all-wheel and four-wheel drive models on the list proves that sophisticated, organized crime rings are involved, the IBC says.
These models are generally stripped for parts, sold to unsuspecting consumers or exported to countries with a high demand for vehicles that can handle rugged terrain.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) can now seize stolen vehicles intended for export, following the passage last month of the federal government's Bill S-9, Tackling Auto Theft and Property Obtained by Crime Act.
Bill S-9 makes several amendments to the Criminal Code, including:
So, please avoid the temptation and make the extra effort to take your keys with you and lock the door when your car is unattended. It will help save us all premium, taxes, and yourself your deductible and considerable personal loss and hardship.