Mayor Brown calls on feds to help fight auto thefts in Brampton, more funding for CBSA

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Published February 2, 2023 at 11:27 am

stolen cars mississauga Peel Regional Police conference
(File photo)

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is calling on Ottawa to plug “a major gap” in Canada’s borders in an effort to cut down on auto crime.

Auto thefts in Mississauga and Brampton have nearly doubled since 2019, with more than 6,000 vehicles stolen in Peel Region last year.

The City of Brampton is launching a pilot program to give thousands of Brampton car owners of free Faraday bags to help prevent what police call “relay thefts,” reducing the chance that would-be car thieves can copy your key and steal your ride.

But Mayor Brown says the Faraday bag initiative is just one step towards combating auto thefts in the City and is calling on the federal government to increase funding for Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to prevent stolen cars from being shipped overseas.

“It’s not a Peel issue, frankly, it’s not even a GTA or an Ontario issue – it’s a Canadian issue,” Brown said at a press conference in Brampton on Thursday (Feb. 2).

Brown said auto thefts have climbed some 80 per cent in Toronto since 2019, more than 130 per cent in York Region, ande Montreal has also seen an approximate 120 per cent increase.

Police say thieves have been using stolen vehicles as currency in organized crime circles, and Investigators have also been looking into a large number of stolen vehicles from Ontario being shipped overseas and sold in used car lots. But the volume of shipments leaving Canada and the cost of shipping stolen vehicles back to their rightful owners are significant roadblocks for investigators.

Brown said there are only 10 CBSA officers inspecting cargo containers leaving Canada and that only 1 per cent of containers are physically inspected. And with the port of Montreal shipping 34 million tonnes of cargo last year alone, 

The Faraday bag pilot program was proposed by Brown at a committee of council meeting on Wednesday and passed unanimously. The motion will go to council next week for approval and, if passed, could see the signal-blocking bags distributed for free “as quickly as possible.”

The bags can block the radio signal from your vehicle key FOBs, making it harder for car thieves can copy your keys. The three–month program will see signal-blocking bags distributed to drivers in five of the city’s auto theft hot spots and could be expanded to include other parts of the city depending on the results of the pilot.

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