How Are Cars Stolen?
If you know how cars are stolen, you can help prevent the theft of your own car with some help from anti-theft technology.
Car thieves usually have an agenda, but some car thefts are planned and some are spontaneous. Thieves are also both professionals and amateurs. Anti-theft technology can help prevent car theft.
With more vehicles equipped with keyless entry remotes, electronic auto theft is on the rise in Canada. Typically, luxury vehicles and sports cars are stolen the most.
How different types of car thieves steal cars:
The pros: These thieves plan how to steal cars and can be part of organized crime groups. They usually send stolen vehicles to chop shops specializing in stripping cars down for parts or they send them overseas to be sold.
The amateurs/opportunists: An opportunity comes along to steal a car, such as an unlocked car, and they take it. They usually dismantle vehicles themselves.
The joyriders: They can be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and decide to take a ride without the owner’s permission. They are usually in it for the experience and they often find keys in unlocked cars.
The carjackers: They can be dangerous because they may use violence. Carjackers usually steal your car while you are in it. They may bump into your car on purpose and steal it when you get out to take a look or they may force you out of your car at a traffic light and steal your car.
Did you know that in 2023, vehicle theft has reached a crisis level in Canada?
How anti-theft technology can help stop car theft:
Steering wheel locks deter car theft by making it difficult for thieves to steer, even if they start the engine.
Vehicle tracking systems can monitor your car's real-time location, whether it’s in motion or not.
Dash cams can record footage while the car is running or parked. Footage from a dash cam inside your vehicle can identify thieves or prevent the theft from happening.
Engine immobilizers are electronic devices that prevent a car from starting without the correct key or transponder, making it quite difficult for a thief. Double-check your vehicle make and model to see if it’s included.
Kill switches prevents your car from starting. A kill switch adds another layer of security to help stop your car from being stolen.
How your car alarm can actually help thieves:
Thieves usually check to see if your car has an alarm system. They often look for stickers with instructions on disabling or getting past the alarm. They might not even be afraid of the alarm going off because people are quite used to them going off by accident and tend to ignore them.
How do thieves break into older cars?
Older model cars lack the anti-theft technology that newer cars have so they are usually easier to break into even when they have alarms. Thieves often use a slim jim, a hook and wire tool also used by police and locksmiths, to reach through the window seal and unlock the door. They can also simply break the window of your older car.
Thieves also can shave a key down to a configuration matching the lock. Once in your older car, they can disable the alarm by ripping out the wires. To start the car, thieves can then hotwire the engine using the power and starter wires.
What type of insurance protects my car against theft?
Comprehensive car insurance coverage will protect you if your car is stolen or damaged in the process of being broken into. Examples of damage that may be covered include a broken window, a damaged door lock, or stolen keys and other car parts. It’s not part of mandatory car insurance in Ontario.
Ask your Western Financial Group car insurance expert about comprehensive insurance for your car. Ask about anti-theft devices that could give you a car insurance discount. You can also save when you bundle your car and home insurance.