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Exploring the involvement of organized crime in motor vehicle theft
By Marnie Wallace
- In 2002, over 161,000 vehicles were stolen in Canada. The vehicle
theft rate had increased steadily between 1984 and 1996, and has generally
declined since, including a 5% drop in 2002.
- While thrill-seeking continues to be a major motive for the theft
of vehicles, vehicles stolen for profit is a serious concern in certain
parts of the country. According to experts, vehicles stolen by organized
groups are generally stolen for export overseas, inter-provincial resale
or stripped for parts.
- The prevalence of organized crime involvement in vehicle thefts can
be roughly estimated by looking at the proportion of stolen vehicles
not recovered. In 2002, approximately one out of every five stolen vehicles
was not recovered.
- While the highest rates of total vehicle theft are found in the western
provinces, most of these vehicles are later recovered and are generally
taken for thrill-seeking purposes. The highest rates of organized vehicle
theft, using the rate of stolen vehicles not recovered as a proxy measure,
are found in the larger urban centres of Quebec and Ontario as well
as the port city of Halifax.
- Among large forces, Montréal appears to have the largest problem
of organized vehicle theft in the country, with a non-recovered rate
that is more than twice that of the next highest force (Halifax,). Montréal
also has the highest proportion of vehicles not recovered, at 44%.
- Other high rates of non-recovered vehicles were found in London, Ottawa-Gatineau
and the Toronto area. The lowest rates were in St. John's, Victoria
- Vehicles stolen from private homes have a much higher probability
of not being recovered (34%) than vehicles stolen from streets (10%)
and parking lots (15%). As well, 41% of vehicles stolen from car dealerships
are not recovered. This may indicate that organized groups are very
selective in the vehicles they target.