‘Stealing is easy’ in Canada as Oakville mayor warns of international car theft rings


Published July 11, 2024 at 9:28 am

car vehicle theft BBC Oakville mayor crime

Canada’s reputation as a haven for car thieves makes it attractive for international criminals to come here, says the mayor of Oakville.

Posting his video comments online, Mayor Rob Burton said Canada’s car theft epidemic has also grabbed the attention of media in other countries. He pointed to a recent British Broadcasting Corporation story that called Canada the car theft capital of the world.

Burton suggested such publicity shows the world Canada is a place where the bad guys can do business.

“Our behaviour that is generating those headlines is generating worldwide interest from organized crime to come to Canada where the stealing is easy,” said the mayor.

Burton quoted several aspects of the story including comments made by a representative of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics who said the extent of vehicle thefts in Canada is surprising considering how small the population is and the limited number of ports from where stolen goods can be shipped.

Typically, vehicles stolen in Canada are shipped out of the country through the Port of Montreal and end up in Africa or the Middle East.

The BBC article revealed data from Interpol that shows more than 1,500 vehicles stolen in Canada have been detected around the world, making it among the 10 worst countries for car thefts. Interpol is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation.

Continuing to read from the BBC story, Burton mentioned the plight of a Milton resident who had his truck stolen from his driveway and then tracked it to a website in the African nation of Ghana where it was being offered for sale.

After a replacement truck was almost stolen, the Milton resident decided to switch to a car that was less desirable to criminals.

“One of the defences against car theft is to drive a beater that nobody in Ghana wants to buy,” said Burton facetiously, using the term “beater” to describe an older, well-used, but still operating vehicle.

Burton called on Ottawa to do more to combat the car theft problem.

“We really need the federal government to make the necessary investments and raise this issue to the level of priority that it really needs,” he said.


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