Canada launches ‘national action plan’ to fight car theft

Canada launches ‘national action plan’ to fight car theft
Canada launches ‘national action plan’ to fight car theft

This text is a translation of an article from CTV News

This announcement follows the national auto theft summit held in February in Ottawa. According to 2022 estimates released by the industry at the time, auto theft rates increased in several provinces compared to the previous year. In Quebec, thefts increased by 50%. In Ontario, they increased by 34.5%.

Police services in the Greater Toronto Area reported a 104% increase.

“We are adding new offenses targeting car theft and its links to violence and organized crime,” Attorney General of Canada Arif Virani told reporters Monday.

He said the government was proposing new offenses targeting the leaders of car theft gangs and those who launder money raised by organized crime.

Most stolen cars are sold abroad, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. According to Mr. Virani, the money is then used to fuel criminal activities in Canada.

“These measures will help fight not only organized crime, but also terrorist organizations,” Mr Virani said.

The “root cause”

The plan would also allow courts to order a person to keep their bank account open to aid a police investigation, and would prohibit financial institutions from closing that account if criminal activity is suspected.

“Investigations must follow the path of money. This is what we are doing with these changes,” Mr. Virani said.

The federal government is proposing a new “aggravating circumstance” in sentencing, applied to adult offenders who involve a youth in their crimes. Mr Virani hopes this will allow police to better target criminal gang leaders, rather than the lower-ranking, and often much younger, members who obey them.

“Who is leading these young people? Who is leading these teenagers? Who orchestrates and provides the necessary resources for adolescents? The root cause is not the teenager committing the theft. The root cause is the adult criminal who guides, or actually forces, them to commit this crime.”

Since the start of the year, police have seized nearly 1,200 stolen vehicles, according to Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

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