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Ontario to shell out $51 million to fight auto theft

Halton Police Vehicle | Oakville News
Halton Police Vehicle | Oakville News

At a press conference in Oakville, on Wednesday, May 3, Ontario Solicitor General Michael Kerzner announced that the province of Ontario is setting aside $51 million over the next three years to tackle the rise in auto theft.

Speaking at the Halton Regional Police Service’s headquarters, Kerzner pointed to the "staggering and completely unacceptable" fact that "by the time the conference is over, another car will have been stolen somewhere in Ontario."

"A car is stolen every 48 minutes in Ontario." - Kerzner

Oakville has some of the worst statistics in regards to auto thefts, which the Solicitor General acknowledged.

"Car thieves and criminal networks are specifically targeting the Greater Toronto Area, including Halton Region, where auto thefts increased by over 49 per cent in 2022, with Oakville and Burlington hardest hit." - Kerzner

Plans have been announced for a special auto theft and organized crime team for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

A portion of the funding will also go towards a "Major Auto Theft Prosecution Team" that will assist the OPP during tough cases in court.

Around $13 million will be spent on making intelligence available to multiple jurisdictions.

There will also be grants to police services across the province, so that they can have the latest technology/gadgets to identify stolen cars and apprehend thieves.

Public awareness campaigns have also been planned.

HRPS’ Chief Steve Tanner concurred with Kerzner's message and revealed more about the types of vehicles being stolen.

Of the 416 vehicles stolen in Halton this year, 108 of those were Toyotas (mostly Highlanders), 78 were Dodge Ram pickup trucks, 76 were Land Rovers, 55 were Lexus’ (mostly RX-350s), 43 were Jeeps and 37 were F-150s. - Tanner

According to Tanner, 56% of stolen vehicles are recovered.

It is estimated that 1,700 vehicles will be stolen by the end of 2023.

"It has been way too easy for car thieves to get away with this. No longer." - Kerzner