Over 2000 cars stolen in the first quarter of 2023 in Mississauga and Brampton

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Published March 25, 2023 at 3:45 pm

The quarterly results are in and Mississauga and Brampton residents will be seeing 2020 —not to be mistaken for the year, but it’s the number of vehicle thefts reported by the PRP since January (2023)

Residents rang in the new year with 18 vehicle thefts in the region and that was an early foreshadowing of many more unfortunate cases to follow.

According to Peel Regional Police data, from Jan. 1 – Jan. 25 there was a whopping 653 incidents related to vehicle thefts in just the first 25 days of the year.

Compared month to month that number increased to 748 cases between Jan. 25 to Feb. 25, bringing the total amount to 1401 incidents.

It was a wake up call for police and residents alike, that vehicle thefts were becoming a growing problem in the Mississauga and Brampton communities.

A breaking story from late January involved the mystery behind more than five dozen luxury vehicles being stolen from people’s driveways in Mississauga, Brampton and across the GTA.

The vehicles were eventually recovered by police in Malta and 18 people were charged with more than 170 offences including conspiracy, trafficking of property obtained by crime and theft of a motor vehicle.

As police began to investigate it was becoming clear that it was a planned operation which involved a group of people going on stealing sprees.

It’s one thing to be involved in a single-car theft, but what happens when there are hundreds of vehicles stolen? What do the criminals do with them?

Last month that mystery was solved, when three Mississauga residents were among  51 people charged  in a huge organized car theft bust, called “Project Touchdown,” where 215 stolen vehicles worth $17.4 million were recovered that were destined for countries around the world.

It seems that these heists were very elaborate and each member had a specific job. For example most of the vehicles were ‘reprogrammed’ wherein the suspects enter the vehicle and reprogram the ignition computers, which allow them to be driven away using a new key.

The stolen vehicles are then either driven to the Port of Montreal or loaded into shipping containers in Toronto and transported to Montreal by rail.

The most notable vehicle theft story of the past month involved the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) locally and overseas, who partnered with Peel Regional Police, and the local task force to intercept 24 vehicles, valued at about $2.1 million, before they were able to reach their destination in Dubai in February.

The following map shows where these incidents took place in the last three months:

From Jan. 1 to Mar. 25, Peel police data indicates that there were a combined 2020 vehicle thefts reported across both cities — 1107 in Mississauga and 913 in Brampton.

As little as 38 of these incidents are considered successfully solved, while 412 are left unsolved and a whopping 1570 are still being investigated.

According to Peel Regional Police data the top 6 common hotspots for this kind of theft is:

  • Dixie Rd
  • Airport Rd
  • City Centre Dr
  • Great Lakes Dr
  • Viscount Rd

Post investigations where suspects have been caught and charged, police have seen a substantial decline in vehicle thefts, reporting that these crimes were down 29% compared to the numbers found in January (2023)

As of today Mar. 25 there are have been 586 reports of vehicle thefts in the last 30 days, this may still be a high number, but it’s much lower than previous months.

Although there seems to be a gradual decline of stolen vehicles, bringing relief for many residents of Mississauga and Brampton — Peel police are still advising drivers to protect their vehicles from potential future thefts and have provided some helpful tips:

  • if possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage, as the majority of the vehicles have been stolen from driveways
  • use a steering wheel lock. It will also act as a visible deterrent
  • install a lock on the data port. This simple device can be purchased online and blocks access to the computer port where the thieves gain access to reprogram the vehicle’s keys
  • consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system. Ensure cameras are properly placed and functioning for day and night use. Familiarize yourself with the system so it can be reviewed and accessed immediately.
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