Article courtesy of Cowan Insurance Group
Did you know a car is stolen every 48 minutes in Ontario? Car theft increased 72% between 2014 and 2021 and jumped an additional 14% just in the last few years. The average time for a car to be stolen is now only 15 seconds.
What types of cars are at risk?
Auto theft is an ever-evolving problem. The list changes annually, but consistently the most stolen vehicles are3:
- Honda CRV
- Ford F150
- Lexus RX
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Highlander
- Dodge Ram 1500 Series
How cars are stolen in 2023
Keyless entry vulnerabilities. Thieves are increasingly exploiting keyless entry systems. Sophisticated technology is also used to commit crimes such as RFID skimming, electronic pickpocketing and RFID Key Fob vehicle theft. They use signal amplifiers to intercept and replicate key fob signals, gaining effortless access to your vehicle. All cars are a target, particularly push-button electronic start vehicles, regardless of the make and model.
Professional theft rings. Organized crime groups often target luxury and popular make and model cars of less value for resale in international markets. They possess advanced tools and knowledge to steal and transport these vehicles discreetly.
Parts stripping. Supply chain issues are creating a thriving domestic market for stolen vehicles. Thieves may not steal the entire vehicle but target high-value parts like wheels, airbags, and catalytic converters for quick profit.
Online sales platforms. The rise of online sales platforms has made it easier for thieves to sell stolen vehicle parts or even entire vehicles discreetly.
High-target vehicles are often at greater risk due to their desirability and resale value. Luxury cars, high-performance vehicles, and top-end SUVs are prime targets for several reasons. These vehicles retain their value well, making them attractive to thieves who intend to resell them on the black market. High-end vehicles can be quickly disassembled for parts or shipped abroad, making them challenging to recover. Some luxury vehicles may have fewer security features than mainstream models, making them easier targets for experienced thieves. Some high-value vehicles are vulnerable to ignition bypass techniques, allowing thieves to start the car without a key.
Mitigating your auto theft risk
In today’s world, auto theft is an unfortunate reality. Still, with the proper precautions and preparation, you can protect your investment and avoid being a victim. Taking proactive steps to safeguard your vehicle will provide peace of mind and ensure you continue enjoying your investment for years.
- Invest in advanced security systems: Consider installing advanced security systems like vehicle trackers, immobilizers, and even aftermarket alarm systems. These can deter thieves and increase the chances of recovery in case of theft.
- Secure your key fob: Protect it, as it can be easily replicated. Store your key fob in a signal-blocking pouch or a metal box to prevent signal amplification attacks. Also, inquire about software updates or other security enhancements with your car manufacturer. Consider using a Faraday blocking pouch, which can help protect you from RFID theft or electronic pickpocketing.
- Choose secure parking: Whenever possible, park your vehicle in well-lit, secure parking areas, and use a steering wheel lock or a wheel clamp as an added deterrent. If you have a second vehicle, try to park it behind the highly-targeted vehicle.
- Use anti-theft devices to protect your vehicle: These include steering wheel locks, brake locks, car wheel clamps, and audible alarms.
- Use a Data port lock/OBT (On board diagnostics) protector: An OBD port allows car manufacturers, garages and owners easy access to vehicle diagnostic information by plugging a device into a standard design port.
- Consider using a wireless tracking device, such as an AirTag: It could make your vehicle easier to track.
- Install a vehicle immobilizer: Consider installing a hidden vehicle immobilizer that prevents thieves from starting your car without the necessary authentication.
- Security cameras: Install security cameras around your property, especially if you park your high-value vehicle at home. These cameras can act as a deterrent and provide evidence in case of theft.
- Anti-theft etching: Add your vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) onto the windows and major components. This makes it less attractive to thieves who want to sell stolen parts.
- Insurance coverage: Review your insurance policy to ensure it covers theft and offers an adequate range for high-value vehicles. Consider additional coverage options if needed.
- Community awareness: Engage with your community and share information about auto theft trends. Encourage neighbours to take preventive measures as well.
If you have questions about how you can mitigate your auto theft risk, reach out to Dave Brueckner at Cowan Insurance Group. Dave will work with you to understand your unique needs and develop a customized risk management strategy. Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 226-894-8952.
Visit www.cowangroup.ca for more information.