Staggering increase in car thefts in Montreal

Staggering increase in car thefts in Montreal

The number of stolen vehicles has increased markedly in Montreal a situation that affects our borough of Parc-Extension as well. A 61.8% jump in thefts was seen in the first three quarters of 2022, compared to the previous year. While fourth quarter data is not yet available, 2022 is already the year in which Montreal experienced the most auto thefts.

The increase is relatively widespread on the island of Montreal. However, some sectors are more affected. Car thefts more than tripled in Plateau-Mont-Royal (+240%), downtown (+230%) and Westmount-Village Shaughnessy (+210%) while they more than doubled in Verdun (+165%), Dorval (+166%) and Pierrefonds–L’Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève (+133%).

The east of the island is rather experiencing stagnation, a slight increase, or even a decrease, as is particularly the case in Saint-Léonard (-3%). “SUVs, luxury SUVs and pickup trucks” are more targeted, explains Commander Yannick Desmarais, in an email to Métro. It should be noted that all the sectors most affected are among the sectors where incomes are the highest.

Multiple reasons

The first cause of this explosion in car thefts would be the current shortage of new vehicles linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the SPVM. This has also increased the price of cars in circulation.

Thieves will mainly make four potential uses of the stolen vehicle. It could serve them for a limited use either for a joy ride or to commit a crime. In both cases, the car is abandoned in a place at the end of their use.

The stolen cars will also be resold on the international market, whole or disassembled. According to Mr. Desmarais, the presence of the Port of Montreal makes this use the main reason for thefts. Finally, such vehicles can also be dismantled to be resold individually or recycled.

Commander Desmarais tells the population that prevention is the best way to fight against this phenomenon. “An effective anti-theft system, such as a tracking system, an immobilizer or OBD (On Board Diagnostic) protection” would be effective means of protecting oneself, he believes.