The Estate of the Credit Ridge neighbourhood, like many neighbourhoods across the GTA has been the target of automobile thieves. Every victim of a break-in or property theft knows the lingering insecurity it creates. It is never forgotten, yet solutions to reduce occurrences seem to fall on property owners who are falling prey to more organized thieves with technologies that are surprisingly easy to obtain.
Auto-theft cost Canadians $1 billion in 2021 with 22,500 cars stolen nationwide. Alberta has the highest theft rate (13.1 cars stolen per 100,000 people) followed by Ontario (7.3 cars stolen per 100,000 people). Across Peel Region, 4,119 vehicles were stolen in 2021, a 22% increase from the prior year. In just the first two months of 2022, 874 vehicles were stolen in Peel Region, a 63% increase from the same timeframe in 2021. The problem is widespread and growing fast.
Last Fall, neighbours in the Estate of the Credit Ridge organized a town hall. Councillor Santos and Councillor Vicente listened carefully to the personal experiences and vowed to help find better solutions. They have been collaborating with Peel Regional Police to find solutions and preventative measures. In January, they canvassed the neighbourhood to share tips and information on how to protect property. After receiving feedback from residents, they took the bold step of reaching out to a car manufacturer to understand what was being done to make it more difficult for thieves to steal cars. Data provided by Peel Regional Police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada revealed high-end Toyota and Lexus vehicles topped the list of most stolen vehicles in Peel Region.
In March, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown joined Councillor Santos, Councillor Vicente and Peel Regional Police to speak with with executives from Toyota Canada and share information about the concerning trend. Everyone shared a commitment to working alongside Toyota Canada in bringing the matter to Transport Canada and the local area MP’s.
Is making it more technically difficult to steal cars the solution? Tesla, the leader in electric vehicles has utilized technology to essentially eliminate theft of their vehicles.
This advocacy work to engage manufacturers and higher levels of government is a long-term effort. Media coverage of the issue is also gaining traction and helping to raise awareness and expedite solutions. In the short-term, police across the GTA continue to take auto-theft seriously. There have been a number of high-profile investigations recently that have recovered vehicles. You can also follow guidance from Peel Regional Police on how to protect yourself and property.
Let us know what you think about the growing problem of vehicle theft and ideas for solving the problem.