Protect Your Vehicle

Things You Can Do to Minimize the Risks

Why Are Vehicles Stolen?

  1. To Commit Other Crimes
    Vehicles are stolen and used in other crimes such as robberies, break and enters, drug dealings or drive by shootings.
  2. For Transportation
    Thieves will use your vehicle to get where they want to go and then abandon the vehicle. They may also just drive it around to gain status with their friends.
  3. For Vehicle Cloning
    Vehicles are stolen, given a fraudulent identification number and then sold to unsuspecting persons who are defrauded of their money. Fraudulent vehicles will be located and seized by police.
  4. To Sell the Vehicle
    Often thieves will take your car out of the province or country. Identification numbers may be altered or removed, ownership certificates forged, parts sold or the vehicle repainted.

How to Protect Your Vehicle

  1. Never leave valuables in your vehicle.
  2. Lock your vehicle and pocket the keys.
  3. Use a visual deterrent such as a steering wheel lock.
  4. Completely close car windows, including sunroof when vehicle is parked.
  5. Never leave your vehicle unattended while the engine is running (especially on cold winter mornings- thieves look for this)
  6. Always activate your vehicle’s security system once you have parked.
  7. Remove portable accessories (and their holders).
  8. Ensure that the dealership you bought your vehicle from has not put a valet key in the owner’s manual in your glove box.
  9. Be careful with your keys; don’t hide an extra set in the vehicle.
  10. If you have a garage, use it to park your car.
  11. If you don’t have a garage, park in a visible location by a light, or as close to the house as possible.
  12. Back into your driveway if you have a rear-wheel drive or four wheel drive vehicle.
  13. Engrave expensive car accessories.
  14. Keep your registration and insurance papers secure.

Anti Theft Devices

There are numerous anti-theft devices on the market. These include, steering wheel locks, automatic engine shut offs, satellite tracking, window etching, and car alarms. For a complete review of anti-theft devices, visit

Buyer Beware

Make sure that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the dashboard identification plate matches that on the vehicle registration form and that it has not been tampered with. If it has been tampered with, it may be a stolen vehicle. Other potential signs of a stolen vehicle include loose or mismatched rivets, screws in place of rivets, scratched numbers, and tape, glue or paint over the VIN.

Tips to avoid purchasing a stolen vehicle:

  • Insist on seeing the original vehicle registration form, not a photocopy.
  • Ask the seller to provide you with photo identification and check that the name on the registration form is the same as the person standing in front of you. Make sure you have a valid home address, home number, and work number for the seller.
  • Ask to see the service records for the vehicle. Stolen vehicles don’t usually come with maintenance records.
  • Check the license plate on the vehicle to ensure it matches the registration form.
  • Check the vehicle make, model, and colour to ensure they match with the registration form.
  • Check the odometer reading (average is 25,000 km/year). Is the wear of the car consistent with the odometer reading?
  • Pay by cheque and ask for a receipt.

Be aware – if you buy a stolen vehicle, it will be seized by police without any compensation.

Tips to Avoid Auto Crime

  • Keep your spare keys in your wallet, not in your car.
  • Invest in a good anti-theft device.
  • Close windows and lock doors. Take your possessions with you.
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended while it warms up - even for just for a minute.
  • Never leave valuables in your car (especially visible and on your seat) as they provide too much temptation for potential thieves.
  • Never leave your car keys unattended (e.g. in a gym locker); try and keep your keys with you at all times.
  • Don’t leave the holder for your GPS unit (or other hand held devices) visible as it may alert thieves that valuables may be stored in your car (e.g., glove box).
  • At home, light your driveway all night or park in a well-lit area near pedestrian traffic.
  • After opening an automatic gate to underground parking, watch out for thieves waiting to slip inside. Wait for the gate to close behind you.
  • Avoid parking behind fences or hedges.
  • If you see any suspicious person or activity near a vehicle, call the police immediately.

Other Resources