Auto-Theft in Ontario Overview

“With the crime of auto theft growing in Ontario our government is tackling the issue head-on,” said Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook. “This grant will help ensure that our Hamilton Police Service has the tools and resources they need to fight car theft and keep our communities safe.”

“Our government takes public safety and auto theft seriously and is committed to ensuring police services have the resources they need to hold criminals accountable and keep our communities safe”, said Neil Lumsden, MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. “With this investment, we are supporting the work of our Police Service to keep Hamilton a safe place to call home.”

The funding is part of the government’s new Preventing Auto Thefts (PAT) Grant program designed to support new and enhanced crime-flighting measures that focus on prevention, detection, analysis and enforcement. In total, 21 police projects across the province are receiving funding for a total investment of $18 million over three years in the fight against auto theft.

“Every 14 minutes a vehicle is stolen in Ontario and this investment will give police services the tools they need to successfully fight auto theft across the province,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “This grant will enable police services to work with law enforcement and logistics partners to enhance prevention, improve investigations and gather evidence to hold criminals accountable.”

The PAT grant is one of several measures underway to fight auto theft. Earlier this year, Ontario announced the Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team to help police services identify, disrupt and dismantle organized crime networks. In addition, the government also announced the creation of the Major Auto Theft Prosecution Response Team to help police prepare and prosecute complex cases. Ontario is also exploring opportunities to combat vehicle thefts by partnering with Canada Border Services Agency, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and shipping container and rail companies. 

“Auto thefts in the City of Hamilton and the GTA have been rising consistently year over year since 2020, with high end vehicle thefts increasing and recovery rates decreasing,” said Hamilton Police Chief, Frank Bergen. “We thank the Provincial Government for funds received from this Grant, which will be used to combat auto theft through increased staffing two new investigators and an analyst. We will also be working closely with our policing partners to share strategic intelligence in the interdiction of organized crime groups that impact our city.”

Quick Facts

  • From 2014 to 2021, there was a 72 percent increase in auto thefts across the province, and a 14 percent increase in the last year alone.
  • Car thefts in Ontario have increased by 31 percent in the first six months of 2023, when compared to the same period in 2022.

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