OTTAWA | Xinhua | The Canadian federal government announced Sunday that a national summit on combatting auto theft will be held to ensure a coordinated response to this serious issue.
The summit that takes place on Feb. 8 in Ottawa will serve to identify short-, medium- and long-term actions to combat auto theft, including the shipment of stolen vehicles through borders, said Public Safety Canada in a news release.
Auto theft is a highly lucrative, highly sophisticated transnational crime that not only affects Canadians but empowers criminal organizations through the proceeds of crime, said the release.
Rates of vehicle theft rose by 50 percent in Quebec, 48.3 percent in Ontario, 34.5 percent in Atlantic Canada and 18.35 percent in Alberta in 2022, as compared to the previous year, according to industry estimates.
In 2022, approximately 9,600 vehicles were stolen in the Toronto area alone, representing a 300 percent increase since 2015, according to the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association.
Transnational organized criminal groups are believed to be involved in the export of stolen vehicles from Canada, while most vehicle thefts involve lower-level threat groups, with violent street gangs being the most prevalent, it said.
The majority of stolen vehicles exported are destined for Africa and the Middle East. Some stolen vehicles also remain in Canada enabling other crimes to be committed with the vehicles and are destroyed afterward, it noted. ■
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