Auto Theft in Ontario Reaches Historic Highs, Honda CR-V Tops List of Stolen Vehicles

2021 Honda CR-V. The compact SUV was the number one vehicle stolen in Ontario, Quebec and Canada last year, according to Équité Association, an organization that supports property and casualty insurers.

Auto theft has surged to historic levels in Ontario, with the Honda CR-V emerging as the most targeted vehicle, reports Équité Association. The province saw a staggering 48% increase in vehicle thefts in 2022, alarming both authorities and the public.

Honda CR-V: A Prime Target

The 2020 model of the Honda CR-V, particularly prevalent on Canadian roads, has become the preferred choice for thieves. With over 5,600 thefts nationwide and 2,684 in Ontario alone, the SUV leads the list of Canada’s top 10 stolen vehicles. “The sheer number of these vehicles and their global serviceability make them prime targets,” explains Bryan Gast, Vice President of Investigative Services at Équité Association.

Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles

Following the CR-V are the Lexus RX Series and the Dodge RAM 1500 Series, with the latter seeing a drastic jump in thefts compared to 2021. Other vehicles frequently targeted include the Toyota Highlander, Land Rover Range Rover, Ford F150 Series, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Honda Civic, and Acura RDX.

Source: Équité Association CBC News

Criminal Networks and Global Demand

Criminal organizations are driving this surge in auto theft, targeting vehicles that meet overseas demand. “It’s an intersection of domestic crime and international terrorism,” Gast adds, highlighting the global ramifications. Most stolen vehicles are shipped to Africa, West Africa, parts of Europe, and the Middle East.

Auto Theft: A Burden on Canadians

With over $1.2 billion in theft claims paid by insurers in 2022, the impact is profound. “This isn’t just an insurance issue; it’s a matter of public safety and economic strain,” notes Terri O’Brien, President and CEO of Équité Association. RatesDotca reports a significant hike in comprehensive insurance premiums, especially for owners of high-risk models like the 2020 Honda CR-V.

Équité Association released this list, the Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles of 2022, ranking by theft frequency, to provide context. (Supplied by Équité Association)

Addressing the Crisis

Équité Association’s report urges a collaborative effort among auto manufacturers, law enforcement, and governments to tackle this national crisis. Measures like improved vehicle security, dedicated task forces, and heightened legal consequences are recommended.

An aerial view of vehicles in a parking lot. Toronto police say the number of auto thefts in Toronto has increased dramatically in the last several years, more than doubling since 2019 and making vehicle thefts a significant issue in the city and across the GTA. (Image by Freepik)

Protecting Your Vehicle

Vehicle owners are advised to adopt a “layered” security approach. “Make your car harder to steal,” says Gast. Recommendations include using steering wheel locks, parking in well-lit areas or garages, and employing tracking services.

The Silver Lining

Despite the grim scenario, there is hope. Ontario has committed $51 million to combat vehicle theft, and a Provincial Carjacking Joint Taskforce has been established. With these concerted efforts, there is a potential for a significant reduction in auto thefts, offering a ray of hope amidst a challenging landscape.