If you own a vehicle and live in Waterdown or Ancaster, Hamilton police say you may want to be on high alert.
The police service issued a media release Friday afternoon about a rise of overnight, high-end vehicle thefts in both areas.
Waterdown has seen a rise in thefts, particularly targeting 2018-2022 Honda CR-Vs, according to police.
In June, the top three stolen vehicles in Hamilton were Honda CR-V, Dodge Ram and Range Rover, police say.
The thieves tend to look for vehicles manufactured between 2016 and 2022.
Police say the most commonly stolen vehicles include:
- Ford F-150.
- Dodge Durango.
- Dodge Ram.
- Toyota Highlander.
- Toyota 4Runner.
- Toyota Tacoma.
- Lexus RX350s/RC350.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee.
- Jeep Gladiator.
- Jeep Wrangler.
- Range Rover.
- Honda CR-V.
- Honda Pilots.
Hamilton police say 195 of these vehicles have been reported stolen this year and say there’s been a 57.8 per cent rise in these thefts compared to 2021.
Vehicle theft is becoming a growing issue across Ontario and Canada, with police services warning residents about a rise in thefts.
Ontario is also spending $51 million over three years to try to fight auto theft.
That money includes creating an organized crime and auto theft team led by the Ontario Provincial Police.
It also includes a grant for police services for extra tools, supports and resources to tackle auto theft, including technology to find and identify stolen vehicles, as well as for public awareness campaigns.
Why are vehicles getting stolen?
Police say there are several main reasons vehicles get stolen.
Thieves can sell the vehicle or parts out of the province or country.
They can use the vehicle to get around, gain clout among peers or use it in other crimes.
They can also use it for “cloning,” where vehicles are stolen, given a fake identification number and sold to people.
The vehicles end up seized by police and the unwitting buyer of the car is scammed out of the money they paid for the vehicle.
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Police say when buying a car consider this: if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Police say if someone steals your vehicle, you should contact them.
Noting your vehicle’s year, make, model colour, licence plate number, vehicle identification number, serial numbers of any special equipment and unique marking on the vehicle (like damage) is helpful.
How to prevent your vehicle from being stolen
Police say people can take steps to prevent car theft whether they are parking in public or are at home.
When it comes to parking, police say you should leave your car in a busy, well-lit area, turn off the car and take the key with you.
You can also lock all valuables in your trunk, close all doors and windows, and turn your wheels to the side to making towing harder.
If your car is at home, police say rear-wheel drive cars should be backed in while front-wheel drive cards should be parked front-end first.
If you have a garage, you should park it in there.
Police also say you shouldn’t leave ownership or insurance cards in the car and should leave behind business cards or address labels inside doors to help with vehicle identification.
If you have the money, you can also invest in tools and equipment to keep your car safe including:
- An ignition kill switch and/or a fuel kill switch.
- A steering wheel lock, a gearshift lock, tire locks or hood locks.
- A steering column collar.
- An electronic alarm (police say alarms with kill switches are the most effective).
- A tracker.