Why Are Vehicles Stolen?

  1. To Commit Other Crimes - Vehicles are stolen and used in other crimes such as robberies, break and enters, or drug dealing.
  2. For Transportation - Thieves will use your vehicle to get where they want to go and then abandon the vehicle. They may also just drive it around to gain status with their friends.
  3. For Vehicle Cloning - Vehicles are stolen, given a fraudulent identification number and then sold to unsuspecting persons. Fraudulent vehicles will be located and seized by police.
  4. To Sell the Vehicle - Often thieves will take your car out of the province or country. Identification numbers may be altered or removed, ownership certificates forged, parts sold or the vehicle repainted.

Protect Your Vehicle

  1. Never leave valuables in your vehicle.
  2. Lock your vehicle and pocket the keys.
  3. Use a visual deterrent such as a steering wheel lock.
  4. When your vehicle is parked, completely close all windows and the sunroof.
  5. Never leave your vehicle unattended while the engine is running (especially on cold winter mornings- thieves look for this).
  6. Always activate your vehicle’s security system once you have parked.
  7. Remove portable accessories (and their holders).
  8. Ensure the dealership has not put a valet key in the owner’s manual in your glove box.
  9. Be careful with your keys; don’t hide an extra set in the vehicle.
  10. If you have a garage, use it to park your car.
  11. If you don’t have a garage, park in a visible location by a light, or as close to the house as possible.
  12. Back into your driveway if you have a rear-wheel drive or four wheel drive vehicle.
  13. Engrave expensive car accessories.
  14. Keep your registration and insurance papers secure.
  15. After opening an automatic gate to underground parking, wait for the gate to close behind you so thieves can't slip inside.

Anti Theft Devices

There are numerous anti-theft devices on the market including steering wheel locks, automatic engine shut offs, satellite tracking, window etching, and car alarms. For a complete review of anti-theft devices, visit External link, opens in a new windowwww.icbc.com.

Buyer Beware

If you are purchasing a vehicle, make sure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the dashboard identification plate matches the number on the vehicle registration form and that it has not been tampered with. If it has been tampered with, it may be a stolen vehicle. Other potential signs of a stolen vehicle include loose or mismatched rivets, screws in place of rivets, scratched numbers, and tape, glue or paint over the VIN.

Tips to avoid purchasing a stolen vehicle:

  • Insist on seeing the original vehicle registration form, not a photocopy.
  • Ask the seller to provide you with photo identification and check that the name on the registration form is the same as the person standing in front of you. Make sure you have a valid home address and phone number for the seller.
  • Ask to see the service records for the vehicle. Stolen vehicles don’t usually come with maintenance records.
  • Check the license plate on the vehicle to ensure it matches the registration form.
  • Check the vehicle make, model, and colour to ensure they match with the registration form.
  • Check the odometer reading (average is 25,000 km/year). Is the wear of the car consistent with the odometer reading?
  • Pay by cheque and ask for a receipt.

Be aware – if you buy a stolen vehicle, it will be seized by police without any compensation.

Crime Maps & Stats

Sign up for our External link, opens in a new windowCrime Stats enewsletter – you will receive monthly crime maps of auto thefts in your area as well as quarterly crime statistics.