The top 10 stolen vehicle models in Canada for 2022 have been revealed as car theft has become a crisis in the country.
Topping the list is the Honda CR-V for the second year in a row with about 5,620 thefts in 2022, according to Équité Association, which investigates the thefts. The 2020 model was the most stolen.
In second place is the Dodge RAM 1500 Series with 2,600 thefts and the 2022 model most stolen, then in third is the Ford F150 Series, followed by the Lexus RX Series and the Toyota Highlander.
Completing the list are the Honda Civic, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Range Rover, Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 1500 Series, and the Jeep Wrangler.
Bryan Gast, vice-president of investigational services at Équité, told Global News on Wednesday that the car models that made the top 10 list are the ones that are most in demand overseas — where the stolen vehicles are often shipped to and sold for a profit.
Nine of the top 10 models are from 2019 and newer in order for criminals to maximize their profits, Équité said in a statement Tuesday.
“Right now what’s driving the top 10 is demand,” Gast said. “Demand is driven by what the organized crime groups are in need of to supply their orders and their needs overseas.”
Gast said that thousands of vehicles from Canada are shipped to Africa and West Africa in particular, parts of Europe and the Middle East.
He speculated that the Honda CR-V might be top of the list because it is a quality vehicle that “suits (the criminals’) needs,” such as being a utility car that can maneuver in the terrain it is going to.
Despite rising awareness of the prevalence of car thefts in Canada, the issue is only getting worse, according to Gast and police data. Insurers paid out $1.2 billion in theft claims in 2022, according to Équité, which Gast said is a “huge number.”
“The trend has been getting worse,” he said.
Toronto police data shows that vehicle theft is up about 27 per cent in 2023 in the city, while Équité says that auto thefts increased in Ontario by 48 per cent and by 50 per cent in Quebec in 2022.
Pearson Airport has recently been revealed as a hotspot for thefts, with 410 vehicles stolen there so far in 2023 — more than one car a day on average, according to Peel Regional Police.
Gast said the first half of 2023 has been worse than 2022.
He said that the majority of vehicles stolen in Ontario and Quebec are sent for export overseas, while in Alberta they are used as “crime vehicles” to commit other crimes and then are abandoned, so more are recovered there.
Équité said that vehicles are sold by domestic and international criminal organizations, “with proceeds funding domestic drug trafficking and international terrorism.”
Équité also released the top 10 least stolen vehicles, with the electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, topping that list with only one theft. There were no electric vehicles in the top 10 stolen cars of 2022.
After the Volt, the top 10 least stolen vehicles are the Cadillac CT5, Kia Niro 5DR, Buick Envision, Honda Fit 5DR, Mini Cooper Countryman, Volvo XC90, Subaru Crosstrek, Volkswagen Beetle, and Mini Cooper.
While the numbers seem to be getting worse, Gast is still hopeful for the future.
He mentioned that Ontario has dedicated $51 million to tackle vehicle theft and established a Provincial Carjacking Joint Taskforce, which will dedicate prosecutors to car theft cases. That can speed up the process and could be a “significant deterrent,” he said.
Gast is calling on the federal government to expand the list of export commodities to include stolen vehicles in addition to firearms and drugs, which are currently on the list.
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