Auto thefts across Canada have gotten so bad that residents in some higher-income areas have started hiring private security to patrol their neighbourhoods. Plus, there has been a dramatic spike in auto insurance premiums.

“We were about to go away on a trip and our neighbour, they were away and a friend of theirs was staying at their place and they had an issue where somebody was trying to break into their house to steal, they think, they’re new car,” a lawyer and adjunct professor who asked not to be identified told the National Post. “When you’re away, you’ve spent a lot of money on these trips, you’re not going to relax if you think your place is going to be broken into.”

Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood is one of the wealthiest in the city and has become the ideal destination for would-be car thieves in recent years.

“It’s a high-end neighbourhood, people want their peace of mind when they’re sleeping so they hire us,” said Ken Vongkham, president of the private security company Corporate Protection and Investigative Services. “Best we can do is deter, we’re not here to take over the police’s job. We’re not here to step on anybody’s toes. We’re here to support where we can and provide insurance.”

Corporate Protection and Investigative Services vice-president Tom Doyle told the newspaper he saw an opportunity in the growing issue and offered security services.

“We started a division doing mobile patrols in certain areas,” said Doyle. “Some houses will hire us when they’ve gone away on holidays and need us there 24-7, we’ll have somebody stay at the house, we’ll drive the streets to make sure everything’s okay.”

According to Doyle, unfamiliar people in the Rosedale area will often run away once they see a patrol car driving down the street. 

However, you don’t need to be in a rich neighbourhood to be a victim of auto theft, noted Doyle. 

The spike in car thefts, which have increased by as much as 50% in some provinces, has led to insurance companies raising rates across the board, particularly on models which are popular among thieves.  

Équité Association, a non-profit which works to prevent insurance fraud, released a list of Canada’s top 10 most commonly stolen models in 2022. The Honda CR-V made the top of list, a vehicle which sells for anywhere between $30,000 and $40,000. The Lexus RX and Land Rover Range Rover were also listed, which go for between $80,000 and $100,000.

Toronto police reported 6,640 car thefts in 2021, 9,785 in 2022 and 12,170 last year. The amount of thefts in 2023 was triple what it was in 2015. 

“In 2019, 17 other metropolitan areas in Canada reported higher per capita vehicle theft rates than Toronto,” said the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association in a report from 2023.

Stolen vehicles are often used to commit other crimes or will be taken to ports to be trafficked to the Middle East or Africa for resale. 

The Équité Association reported that vehicle theft rose by 50% year over year in Quebec and 48.3% in Ontario. Atlantic Canada saw an increase of 34.5% and in Alberta the number rose by 18.3%.

Ontario and Quebec also have the lowest recovery rates as many of the stolen vehicles in those provinces are ultimately shipped overseas.

The Trudeau government will hold a summit in Montreal to address the issue of car theft in February. 

“As a resident of the (Greater Toronto Area), I have heard about and recognize the urgency of ensuring every Canadian feels safe in our communities and across the country,” said Canadian Justice Minister Arif Virani.

“While our laws addressing auto theft and its connections to organized crime are robust, we are committed to exploring additional avenues to strengthen them further. Our government takes the issue of rising auto theft very seriously and are determined to work with all orders of government and partners to make our communities safer and more secure for all.”

Insurance companies have responded to the issue by simply raising rates, passing the burden of this growing problem onto the Canadian consumer. 

“It’s important to note these dramatic losses have fallen squarely on the shoulders of Canada’s insurers,” said the Insurance Bureau of Canada in a recent statement. “At the end of the day, premiums follow claims costs.”

Premiums on commonly stolen models have increased anywhere from 25% to 50% since 2022, according to data from, a website that aggregates insurance pricing. 

Certain models now come with a $500 high-theft vehicle surcharge. 

For example, the average 35-year-old Toronto male resident with no prior convictions paid 26%  more to insure his Honda CR-V in 2023 compared to what it would cost in 2022.