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This is how many cars were stolen in Toronto in January


New Toronto Police statistics appear to show a glimmer of hope in the battle against car thieves, as January figures indicate the first decline in years of the number of stolen vehicles in the city.

The modest decline in January after years of double-digit increases could reflect a co-ordinated effort to tackle the crime – though police aren’t ready to declare victory yet, as raw numbers remain stubbornly high.

“Although any decrease is a move in the right direction, we cannot make an educated comment based on one month’s sample,” wrote Const. Victor Kwong. “What we can say is that we are increasingly concerned about the rise in violent vehicle crimes, including carjackings and home invasions.”

According to Toronto figures, 844 vehicles were stolen in the first few weeks of January, according to their public-facing dashboard. In the same period last year, there were 963 vehicles stolen – a decrease of about 13 per cent.

That’s a marked departure from huge increases in the previous years, which saw tremendous jumps in that time period: 392 in January 2021, to 615 in January 2022 – years that showed more than 50 per cent increases.

And it’s not the only month that shows promise – in December of 2023, 1,000 vehicles were stolen, compared to December 2022, where 1,008 vehicles were stolen.

While comparable figures were not available for much of the rest of the province, Det. Insp. Scott Wade of the OPP said his figures show a “slow in the rise” of car thefts.

“Definitely we are happy to see that the numbers are not increasing at the same rate,” he said, pointing to the cumulative effect of several busts, arrests, and also the efforts of the car industry and increasingly savvy drivers.

One of the drivers affected, Kosta Alexopoulos, says he’s going to invest in an aftermarket security system that he hopes will prevent a repeat of thieves stealing his 2023 Jeep Wrangler.

“It was my wife’s dream car. We waited so long to be able to afford it, and we finally got it. There was not even 5,000 km on it,” he said.

His security video shows two people checking it out at 4:30 am last Monday, where it was parked in his Ajax driveway. They pop the hood, and disable the horn. Then they smash a back window to gain access to the cab while the vehicle’s lights flash but there’s no audible alarm.

Soon, one is in the back seat, and the car starts. The pair drives off with a car worth nearly $80,000 after less than four minutes.

“We woke up. My wife was freaking out. The car’s not there. We look and sure enough, the car’s not there,” Alexopoulos said.

That Wrangler could be anywhere by now. Often, cars are whisked into shipping containers and sent around the world. Recently, CTV News traced one to the streets of Nigeria. Police catch only a fraction. The thirst for vehicles has driven some thieves to turn to carjacking and even to home invasions to get the car keys.

But there have been several sizable busts in the last few weeks. York Region’s Project Mamba recovered 52 stolen vehicles worth $3.2 million, many destined for Azerbaijan. A provincial carjacking task force has made almost 100 arrests and laid over 550 charges.

Alexopoulos says he wishes that new cars had better security and that it wasn’t just left to the consumer to pay more than $1,000 for a backup system.

“Hopefully things do turn around because this is becoming way too common. I know of at least three to four guys who had their vehicles stolen. That’s got to change,” he said. Top Stories

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