There are many things worth looking forward to in December, but one of our favourites is not what you'd expect: it's the Insurance Bureau of Canada's (IBC) annual list of the most-stolen cars and trucks in Canada.
Not that we endorse car theft--not at all--but we like trends, and every year's list of the vehicles most targeted by thieves reveals one or two interesting ones.
Thieves generally steal cars for one of two reasons: either they're looking for a ride to use in the commission of another crime, or they're part of an organized theft ring. This latter group of criminals takes cars to be sold in other countries where the authorities are perhaps not terribly thorough about tracing the origins of used vehicles being imported.
This year's major trend, according to the IBC, is the latest method theft rings are using to smuggle stolen cars and trucks out of the country: instead of shipping them whole, these clever crooks have begun to dismantle "high-end, late-model" vehicles, and instead ship containers stocked with parts to be reassembled at their destination.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the IBC seized 41 such dismantled vehicles before they set sail from Canadian ports in 2015, with the two organizations recovering more than $10 million worth of stolen vehicles.
Regardless of the reason behind a theft, Rick Dubin, the IBC's VP of investigative services, says the majority of car thefts are crimes of opportunity. He says around 60 percent of cars seized at Canadian ports have the keys in the ignition, because they are of greater value to thieves, presumably because they have to do less work to steal them, and there's less damage to repair before the cars are sold for profit.
Even without the keys, Dubin says it takes less than a minute for a thief to make off with your car, so he suggests deterring thieves by parking in well-lit areas; closing windows and doors and pocketing the keys; keep valuables out of sight in the trunk; and take insurance and ownership documents with you when you leave the car parked.
Overall, car theft is up in Canada: IBC notes a nationwide uptick of one percent, with B.C. and Alberta posting the largest provincial increases, at 29 (!) and two percent, respectively.
Click on through to our gallery to see the top five most-stolen cars and trucks in various parts of Canada.