In Canada, every 7 minutes, a car is stolen.
Family members of mine have had their vehicle stolen multiple times, even after they took the correct precautions to help prevent it from getting stolen. Lucky the thefts were covered by insurance, but they still had to spend a ton of time filing insurance claims and dealing with so many other complications.
If you’ve had your car stolen, getting it back is unlikely. Sometimes you’ll get money from insurance but depending on the circumstances, you may get little or none. Meanwhile, the person who stole your car can get thousands of dollars–sometimes, the car thieves are sometimes the only people who win.
There are some things you can do to reduce your chances of having your car stolen or broken into. First, don’t put your car into situations that make you more vulnerable, such as by parking it places where it’s more likely to get stolen, such as remote places without witnesses, or sketchy areas where the drug or crime rates are higher. Many car thieves don’t plan out a robbery. They may simply be acutely in need of money and see a car that looks vulnerable and expensive.
Secondly, avoid leaving valuables visible in your car. A lot of thieves target cars because they see a valuable object through windows. They’ll break in to steal things like phones and wallets. So either take that stuff with you or hide it.
Thirdly, you should turn on your car alarm, even though sometimes you can trigger it by accident. I’d much rather have my ears assaulted once or twice than get my car stolen or broken into and lose my valuables, but that’s just me.
In the awful situation that your car gets stolen, don’t delay before reporting it. Some people believe that it’s mandatory to wait 48 hours before reporting missing vehicles and people but that’s just completely untrue and harmful. As soon as you realise that your car has been stolen or broken into, report it! Time is of the essence. With every second that passes, the thief is taking off with your car and trying to escape the crime scene. If you report a recent theft, the police will search the city immediately, drastically increasing the chances you’ll get your car back.
If the police can’t find it right away report your vehicle as stolen to the insurance companies.
One other way to help yourself locate your car is look at all the local buy-and-sell websites like Kijiji, Craigslist, and Letgo. In the days and weeks after it was stolen, keep browsing those sites. If anyone’s selling one that’s identical to yours, it’s probably yours. Report any suspicious post to the police and they may meet up with the seller, arrest the thief and get your car back.
Ever year IBC releases a list of the top 10 most stolen vehicles and car theft trends in Canada for that year. The list is dominated by recent models of the Ford F350, which make up 6 of the top 10. Different year models of the Ford F250 take another 3 spots on the list. This may be because F-series trucks are in high demand and their value is high, even when sold used.
Many of these vehicles get sold overseas, so that thieves minimise their risk as much as possible because it’s harder to track overseas transactions.
Canadians spend around 542 million dollars for car replacements and $250 million for paying for first responders, health care and court fees. Perhaps we can all save a little money by being careful, and maybe considering a different model of truck.
Image: Flickr / Pete