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How To Prevent Car Theft

From low-tech to high-tech, here are some ways to safeguard your vehicle

Image of a steering wheel with a red steering wheel lock on it, taken from the back seat.

Credit: bensibi (iStock)

A car is stolen every 48 minutes in Ontario. In 2022 alone, vehicle theft surged 50 percent over the previous year, according to the Ontario Solicitor General’s office.

“There is no doubt that vehicle theft has reached a national crisis in this country,” Terri O’Brien, president and CEO of Equité Association, said in a statement. According to the non-profit national organization, which is focused the prevention of crime and insurance fraud, the most-stolen vehicles in Canada include the Honda CR-V, Ford F-150, Toyota Highlander and Honda Civic. In Ontario, thieves also target the Lexus RX SUV, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the Dodge Ram 1500 Series pickup truck.

Even if a vehicle has anti-theft technology, thieves can use readily available digital devices to hack its security system by intercepting radio frequency identification (RFID) signals between a vehicle and its key fob. A survey of Ontario drivers by CAA Insurance found only a small portion of respondents are using anti-theft measures—just six percent use a steering-wheel lock, while eight percent use a Faraday box to block RFID signals. 

It’s important for drivers to use a combination of theft-prevention techniques— both low- and high-tech—to help reduce their exposure to vehicle theft.

Here are some suggestions from CAA Insurance: 

  • Secure your parked vehicle with a steering-wheel lock, brake pedal lock, or wheel lock (also known as tire lock).
  • Use a Faraday box/pouch to store key fobs.
  • Lock your doors.
  • Install a lock on your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port (ODP).
  • Ensure that items are out of sight and do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
  • Park inside a garage if possible.
  • If you have multiple vehicles, park the one of lesser value closer to the road.
  • Install motion-activated lights and/or a camera on your driveway.
  • Stash a GPS tracking tag in your vehicle, so authorities can track it, or use two, placing one where a thief could find it and the second in a well-hidden spot.
  • Never leave your vehicle running while unattended.
  • Share any suspicious activity with law enforcement.

 

Finding a solution to the growing problem of vehicle theft in Canada will require time and collaboration among insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers and law enforcement. 

If you own a high-theft-risk vehicle, contact your insurance agent or broker to discuss safety and insurance options that are available to you. Taking the necessary steps to prevent vehicle theft may take some getting used to, but anyone who’s been a victim of vehicle theft will likely agree it’s far better than facing an empty driveway.

Anti-Theft Tools

The CAA Store sells two types of products that can help Members battle theft. The first—RFID signal blockers (also known as Faraday pouches)—keep your digital information safe, so thieves can’t copy the data on your digital key. The Club®, meanwhile, offers a strong visual and physical deterrent by immobilizing the steering wheel. Together, these items can reduce the chance of theft.

Visit shopwithcaa.com to learn more.

Logos and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ®CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association.

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