A surge in car thefts has become a new reality in the capital, averaging six incidents per day since the beginning of the year. To address this challenge, the police offer the following recommendations to prevent car theft:
- Park your vehicle inside a garage if possible.
- Block your vehicle tightly against a less sought-after second vehicle.
- Install an after-market vehicle immobilizer and alarm for added security.
- Consider after-market tracking devices or GPS systems to fence in your car, sending notifications to your smartphone if the vehicle leaves a designated perimeter.
- If using Air Tags, be cautious, as they may alert thieves if they have an Apple phone. Conceal them within the vehicle.
- Report any discovery of Air Tags in your vehicle or messages about tracking to the police.
- Install an engine control module port-lock.
- Enhance home security with motion detection lights and exterior surveillance cameras.
- Use a steering wheel lock as a visible deterrent, complemented with a secondary anti-theft device.
- Neighborhood watch remains a potent defense—report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.
Car theft hot spots in Ottawa, based on statistics from the Ottawa Police Service crime map, indicate that Bay Ward and River Ward are the most affected areas. The crime map shows 221 reported stolen vehicles in Ottawa since January 1, with over 45 thefts in the past week alone. Bay Ward leads with 23 reported thefts, followed by River Ward with 18, Rideau-Vanier with 17, Gloucester-Southgate with 16, and Beacon Hill-Cyrville with 15.
Statistics from the federal government reveal an estimated 90,000 cars are stolen annually in Canada, incurring about $1 billion in costs to insurance policyholders and taxpayers. Most stolen vehicles are destined for Africa and the Middle East. In response, the government hosted a summit to discuss strategies for addressing vehicle thefts nationwide.
Ottawa police reported 1,854 stolen vehicles in 2023, marking an increase from 1,289 in 2022. The police urge residents to remain vigilant and report any ongoing crimes by calling 911.