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Here are some tips on how to prevent your car from getting stolen

The Ottawa Police Service crime map shows the vehicles reported stolen so far in 2024. (Ottawa Police Service/website) The Ottawa Police Service crime map shows the vehicles reported stolen so far in 2024. (Ottawa Police Service/website)

Increased car thefts have become a new reality in the capital, with an average of six car thefts per day since the start of the year.

Here’s what police want you to do to prevent your car from getting stolen, while they continue to navigate through the challenge:

  • Park inside a garage if available.
  • Block your vehicle in tightly against a second less sought-after vehicle.
  • If you do not have a garage or second vehicle, one of the most foolproof techniques is to install an after-market vehicle immobilizer and alarm.
  • Install after-market tracking devices or “GPS” -- many of these have the ability to “fence in your car” notifying the owner’s smart phone if the vehicle leaves the established perimeter.
  • If you use “Air Tags” do be mindful that if the thief has an Apple phone, it will advise them that the vehicle is being tracked. So, try and hide them within the vehicle.
  • If you find an Air Tag in your vehicle or receive a message on your smartphone that you are being tracked, please call police.
  • Install an engine control module port-lock.
  • Install motion detection lights and exterior surveillance cameras at home, as these can act as a deterrent.
  • Keep in mind that thieves have returned to steal the replacement vehicle when a vehicle has been stolen.
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves (keep in mind they can cut the steering wheel to remove it); it works best when combined with a secondary anti-theft device that may not be as visible to the thief.
  • Neighbourhood watch is still the best defence. Please report any suspicious activity immediately to police at 613-236-1222. Call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress.

What are the hot spots for car thefts in Ottawa?

Statistics on the Ottawa Police Service crime map shows 221 vehicles have been reported stolen in Ottawa since Jan. 1, police note that the Bay ward and River ward are the hot spots for vehicle thefts in the capital. More than 45 vehicles have been stolen in the past seven days.

The crime map shows at least one vehicle has been stolen from all 24 wards across Ottawa in the first six weeks of the year.

Bay ward has the highest number of vehicle thefts reported, with 23 vehicle thefts so far in 2024. There have been 18 vehicle thefts in River ward, 17 thefts in Rideau-Vanier, 16 vehicles stolen in Gloucester-Southgate and 15 vehicles reported stolen in Beacon Hill-Cyrville.

At least 10 vehicles have been reported stolen in each of Orleans East-Cumberland, Orleans West-Innes, Barrhaven West, Rideau-Rockcliffe, Somerset and Alta Vista wards.

The federal government says an estimated 90,000 cars are stolen annually in Canada, resulting in about $1 billion in costs to Canadian insurance policyholders and taxpayers. The government says most stolen vehicles are destined for Africa and the Middle East. It hosted a daylong summit on Thursday to discuss ways to address vehicle thefts across the country.

Ottawa police reported 1,854 vehicles were reported stolen in 2023, up from 1,289 vehicles in 2022.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Josh Pringle and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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