November 29, 2022

Équité Association recommends a layered approach to prevent auto theft

Version français

If you, like many other Canadians, own an F150 pickup truck, you have likely heard some sobering statistics on how popular this vehicle series is among thieves. Each year, this vehicle appears on Équité Association’s annual Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles List, along with the Honda CR-V, Lexus RX series and other cars that span affordable and luxury categories. The city of Edmonton, Alberta, experienced a particularly serious rash of thefts over the course of two days in February 2022, after nearly 20 F150s were scooped using technology to defeat the trucks’ built-in security systems.

Auto theft is a serious crime that not only deprives innocent Canadians of the vehicles they rely on for daily life; it also helps fund both domestic and international criminal organizations. It is a complex problem that can only be solved through collaboration and partnerships between insurers, law enforcement, and government agencies.

Équité Association is member funded by Canada’s largest insurance companies, which means our insurance industry is directly invested in fighting insurance crime and protecting Canadians. Équité works with its members and law enforcement partners, not only to help track down stolen vehicles, but to identify stolen vehicles and return them to their rightful owner.

One of the challenges in combatting auto theft is that it crosses borders. Crime rings can span provinces, countries and even continents. In the case of the Edmonton F150 crime wave, the alleged culprits were three men from Ontario, who travelled across the country to carry out their thefts. In many cases, thieves transport the stolen vehicles to port cities, such as Montreal, where they are exported overseas. This is why a coordinated approach involving several organizations ,such as our partners at the Canadian Border Services Agency, law enforcement and Équité investigators, is essential to disrupt auto theft.

When it comes to auto theft, the best offense is a good defense. In terms of prevention, Équité recommends using the layered approach, which consists of four categories as outlined below:

Layer 1: The simple, common sense steps

  • Keep your car doors locked at all times
  • Never leave your keys in the ignition or start your vehicle remotely - even on cold days!
  • Ensure your windows are closed completely when leaving your car
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area
  • Park your vehicle in a secure garage if possible

Layer 2: Install visible or audible anti-theft devices

  • Audible alarms
  • Steering column collars
  • Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
  • On board diagnostic (OBD) port lock
  • Brake and/or wheel locks
  • Theft deterrent decals
  • Identification markers in or on the vehicle
  • Window etchings
  • If possible, turn off key FOB or place inside an RFID-blocking pouch (e.g. Faraday bag) when not in use, even at home.

Layer 3: Install a vehicle immobilizer

  • Install a quality aftermarket immobilizer device with an ignition disabler that protects against relay attacks, reprogramming attacks and CAN bus attacks.
  • *Alterations to your vehicle may affect the vehicle’s warranty. Contact your vehicle's manufacture/dealer for more information prior to installation.

Layer 4: Invest in a tracking system

  • Tracking services install multiple and difficult to locate tracking devices throughout a vehicle. In the event of a theft, these devices can help track a vehicle.
  • *Alterations to your vehicle may affect the vehicle’s warranty. Contact your vehicle's manufacture/dealer for more information prior to installation.

Being vigilant can help prevent your vehicle from being stolen. By adopting the layered approach, vehicle owners can determine the best anti-theft measures that suit their needs and respective risk level. And while you take the steps to protect your vehicle, Équité Association, its members and partners will continue to work together to fight insurance fraud and crime.