Car theft: 200 vehicles stolen in Canada identified by Interpol every week worldwide

Car theft: 200 vehicles stolen in Canada identified by Interpol every week worldwide
Car theft: 200 vehicles stolen in Canada identified by Interpol every week worldwide

Canada has climbed into the top 10 countries most affected by car thefts, with 200 Canadian vehicles stolen every week around the world, according to Interpol.

• Read also: Car theft: Ottawa wants tougher penalties for offenders

• Read also: Car theft crisis: $346 million in insurance claims in Quebec in 2023

In three months, more than 1,500 vehicles stolen here have been recovered around the world after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) added the information they had to the Interpol database last February.

“Since the integration, more than 200 stolen vehicles [au Canada] have been identified each week while their information is verified by law enforcement agencies around the world, generally at national points of entry,” said an Interpol press release.

137 member countries

The Stolen Motor Vehicle (SMV) database allows law enforcement authorities in 137 member countries to instantly know if a suspicious vehicle has been reported stolen.

In 2023, approximately 226,000 vehicles were identified as stolen worldwide using this database.

For some time now, Canada has become a key country for stolen motor vehicles, in particular because of the diversity of sought-after models, such as SUVs, according to the organization. The country also ranks in the 10 countries most affected by this scourge among member countries.

“Many vehicles are shipped to the Middle East and West Africa, where they are then exchanged or resold,” the statement read.

But the addition of Canadian data to Interpol is a game-changer for thieves, explains Jacques Lamontagne, director of investigations for Quebec and the Atlantic at the insurance crime protection organization Équité Association.

“To export a vehicle abroad and sell it there, you need to have the network that allows you to do so. […] With the announced measures that were put in place on February 13, where Canadian vehicles are now known via Interpol, it is more difficult to [les] sell abroad,” he stressed.

Because a stolen car is an important Source of income for organized crime, recalls Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of Interpol.

“Stolen vehicles are an international criminal currency. Not only are they used for drug trafficking, but also to pay other criminal networks and fuel activities ranging from human trafficking to terrorism,” insists Mr. Stock.

Tighten the screw here

On Monday, the federal government announced it was putting in place a national action plan aimed at combating vehicle theft in order to “disrupt, dismantle and prosecute the criminal organizations” involved.

The Trudeau government intends in particular to add new legislative and regulatory provisions, including modifications to the Criminal Code, in order to increase the sentences of offenders for acts involving violence, organized crime and money laundering.

For Jacques Lamontagne, this announcement shows that Canada is on the “right track” in the face of the scourge of car theft.

– With Nora T. LamontagneInvestigation Bureau

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