Vehicle thefts spike around New Year's, Ford trucks top target: insurance bureau

Nissan Maxima

Nissan Maxima

A new report says thieves are setting their sights on older-model Ford trucks and high-end SUVs as the number of automotive thefts rose again past year.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has compiled lists of the most frequently stolen vehicles in each province. The Ford F-Series pickup dominated the rankings with eight models topping the list.

Numbers released past year showed that a smidgen over 22,800 vehicles were stolen in Alberta, or roughly one-quarter of all vehicles stolen across Canada in 2016, and on a per-capita basis, Alberta was behind only Quebec for stolen unrecovered vehicles.

"Usually you need the card key information to get the diagnostic to start the auto".

"The folks that are into the business, you know, quote-unquote professionally, if there's a specific type of vehicle that they're going to want, they're going to get that vehicle".

Henry Tso, the bureau's vice-president of investigative services, said in a news release that during the holiday season people tend to travel with gifts in their vehicle, and drivers should keep a close watch.

To prevent the relay attack, vehicle owners should consider keeping their fob in what's known as a Faraday sleeve or pouch, which blocks the radio signals, he said.

Never leave your vehicle running when unattended.

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Vehicle thefts in Alberta are way above the national average, accounting for 29 per cent of all such crimes across the country, according to 2016 data from Statistics Canada.

"It's easily preventable, the 25 per cent, all they have to do is be a little colder in their vehicle".

As for when vehicles are being stolen, ICB says New Year's Day is the most common time for vehicles to be stolen across the country, mostly because people are travelling with vehicles filled with gifts.

Thieves who steal from cars are also likely to commit insurance fraud or identity theft and 17,500 Canadians reported identity theft in 2017.

The insurance bureau says there are generally four reasons someone steals a vehicle: to sell it overseas, to sell to an unsuspecting buyer, to get somewhere else or to commit another crime.

About 85, 000 vehicles were stolen across Canada in 2017, with the greatest percentage increase being in New Brunswick at 28 percent.

The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada says crime groups involved in auto thefts operate primarily out of Montreal and Toronto.

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