Ottawa police have made over 80 arrests in connection to vehicle thefts so far in 2023

By Anil Jhalli

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is advising residents to be vigilant and safeguard their vehicles.

Ottawa police said 1,200 vehicle thefts have been reported in 2023, and 85 have been reported this month alone.

“Ottawa police continue to work with municipal, provincial and federal governments and partners to disrupt these criminal organizations,” said the OPS in a release. “To counter this growing crime trend, Ottawa Police experts have trained patrol officers on the current trends, and the technologies and methods needed to intercept thefts in progress before they leave the city.”

Ottawa police said officers have made more than 80 arrests this year, and 315 stolen vehicles have been recovered.

According to police, thefts have not been limited to Lexus and Toyota vehicles. Newer models of the RAV4, Honda CRV, Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as Ford F-Series trucks (higher trim level) and all makes and models of vehicles that are equipped with a proximity key (i.e., push-button start), have also been targeted by thieves.

Vehicle owners are encouraged to consider the following prevention methods: 

  • Park inside a garage if available (in Ottawa to date, no vehicles have been stolen from inside a garage)
  • Block your vehicle in tightly in front of a second less sought after vehicle or a barricade
  • If you do not have a garage or second vehicle, one of the most reliable techniques is to install an after-market vehicle immobilizer and alarm
  • Use a steering wheel lock (i.e. “club”) 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
  • Install after-market tracking devices, GPS or air tag trackers – many of these have the ability to “fence in your car” notifying the owner’s phone if the vehicle leaves the established perimeter
  • If you use tracking devices, be mindful that the thief may also be able to detect that the vehicle is being tracked. Ensure they are well hidden in a less obvious location.
  • If you find a tracking device in your vehicle or receive a message on your phone that you are being tracked, please call police, as this is one means that thieves use to find a targeted vehicle. They typically return under the cover of darkness to steal it
  • Install an Engine Control Module (ECM) 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, so remain vigilant
  • Neighbourhood watch is still the best defense – so please report any suspicious activity immediately to police at 613-236-1222.  Call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress.
  • When parking your vehicle at shopping malls or sporting events, for example, always lock your doors and activate any security features. Thieves scout these areas and will steal vehicles day or night.

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