IBC releases its top 10 stolen vehicles list

By Kate McCaffery | December 03 2019 09:29AM

Photo: Freepik

Auto thieves don’t need your keys – many are using technology to bypass security systems and electronically gain access to vehicles. While some vehicles are stolen to commit another crime, many others are stolen by organized crime groups to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in Canada, to be shipped abroad, or to be stripped down for parts.

All told the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says auto theft costs Canadians close to $1-billion every year.

Older Ford 350 trucks dominate the IBC’s 2019 list of top 10 stolen vehicles, released Dec. 3. This year’s list includes nine vehicles that don’t have ignition immobilizers which can prevent thieves from hot-wiring a vehicle.

2019 top 10 stolen vehicles:
  1.     Ford 350SD AWD 2007
  2.     Ford 350SD AWD 2006
  3.     Ford 350SD AWD 2005
  4.     Ford 350SD AWD 2004
  5.     Ford 250SD AWD 2006
  6.     Ford 350SD AWD 2003
  7.     Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD 2018
  8.     Ford F250 SD 4WD 2005
  9.     Ford F350 SD 4AWD 2002
  10. Honda Civic Si 2DR Coupe 1998

Bryan Gast, IBC’s national director of investigative services, says the sheer volume of Ford trucks on the road and the lack of an ignition immobilizer on earlier models, are the main reasons this series of trucks continue to take up the majority of spots on the list.

“Prior to 2007 there were no mandatory immobilizers on vehicles. Prior to that they were significantly easier to steal,” he says.

With the advancement of technology too, he says higher end vehicles will likely be taking up more spots on the list in the years to come. “If you’re driving another vehicle, it doesn’t mean you’re immune from this issue. The technology is the same and they’re after a variety of high-end vehicles. Everybody needs to be vigilant,” he says. “When the criminal decides they have a target vehicle in mind, they will look for vulnerabilities and opportunities to be able to steal those vehicles.”

Store key fobs in a protective box or bag

The IBC recommends consumers store their key fobs in a protective box or bag which blocks wireless signals. Leaving keyless fobs unprotected at the front entrance of your home can allow thieves to intercept the signal, thereby giving them access to the vehicle. The IBC also recommend installing an ignition immobilizer, steering wheel lock or brake pedal lock, along with a tracking device that will emit a signal if the vehicle is stolen. They also recommend drivers avoid leaving personal information like insurance and ownership documents in the glove box when parked.

For those interested in checking whether a resale car has a legitimate VIN number or not, Gast recommends consumers have their insurer check the VIN number to see if it matches the car or truck’s make and model, or use the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).

“There are a lot of things that the consumer can do to protect themselves against theft,” he adds. “Sometimes it’s as easy as not leaving your vehicle idling unattended.”

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