Auto thefts dropped 37% after launch of pilot project in Brampton


Published March 20, 2024 at 10:29 am

Some auto theft hotspots in Brampton saw a significant drop in stolen vehicles last year, partly thanks to a city-led crackdown.

In the last six months of 2023, five areas in Brampton saw a nearly 40 per cent drop in the number of vehicles reported stolen on the heels of the city’s new Auto Theft Reduction Pilot Project.

The program was launched last year following a record-breaking number of vehicle thefts in Mississauga and Brampton.

Some 5,806 vehicles were reported stolen in both cities in 2022, with another 4,482 thefts in Mississauga and 3,178 in Brampton last year for a total of 7,660.

But a new report to a committee of council on Wednesday showed a 37 per cent decrease in auto thefts in the pilot areas in the first six months of the project.

The project saw the city give out 5,000 signal-blocking Faraday bags to Brampton residents in five areas that had 60 vehicle thefts between Jan. 1 to June 18, when the blocking bags were handed out last year. For the remainder of the year the number of stolen vehicles dropped to 38 in those same areas, and also dropped 45 per cent on streets in the surrounding areas.

The signal blocking pouches block the radio signal from a vehicle key FOB, and can prevent would-be car thieves from copying your key and stealing your ride in what police are calling “relay thefts.”

Police say “convenience” features like keyless entry have made vehicles much easier to steal, and have called on manufacturers to make vehicles more difficult to steal. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has repeatedly called on Ottawa to recall the 10 most stolen vehicles in Canada with keyless ignitions and keyless locks “until the technology is fixed.”

Mayor Brown is also calling for the federal government to increase security and screening at Canadian ports to stop stolen vehicles bound for other countries, like those being sold at a car lot in the African country of Ghana.

The update on Brampton’s auto theft crackdown comes as Peel Regional Police kick off their second annual Auto Theft Summit on Wednesday at the Hyatt Mississauga, bringing law enforcement leaders together with auto industry stakeholders and politicians to solution ways to curb the growing trend.

Peel police doubled its auto theft enforcement unit following last year’s summit, and police will also host the 51st annual Vehicle Crimes Conference in collaboration with the U.S.-based Northeast Regional Chapter of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, in May.

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