Which vehicles are most targeted in auto thefts? York police have the answer

Parts of the GTA are seeing a rise in auto thefts, including in York Region where police say there’s been a 50 per cent increase compared to last year. Faiza Amin reports on the new police campaign empowering residents.

York Regional Police revealed an auto-theft prevention campaign on Tuesday, detailing which vehicles are most likely to be targeted by thieves and in what neighbourhoods.

Dubbed “Operation Auto Guard,” the campaign incorporates what police called “robust crime prevention… which includes data-driven solutions, targeted community engagement and the giveaway of crime prevention tools to help our citizens avoid becoming victims of vehicle theft.”

The campaign’s data concluded that York Regional Police officers have seen an almost 50 per cent increase in vehicle thefts compared to this time last year, and compared to 2019, York Region is on pace for an increase of approximately 200 per cent.

York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween said Tuesday that crime analysts have compiled data from across the region, specifically focusing on Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. The police force has identified neighbourhoods that are prone to vehicle thefts and shared those findings through neighbourhood heat maps.

Neighbourhood heat maps, auto thefts

“Operation Auto Guard” also determined that the five vehicles most often targeted include the Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX350, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Ram 1500 and GMC Yukon.

Police chief McSween said this year alone, close to 3,300 vehicles have been stolen in York Region.

The auto-theft campaign began last week at various locations, including Vaughan Mills Mall, Hillcrest Mall, Promenade Mall, Canada’s Wonderland, Richmond Hill Legion and various gyms.

Police officers behind “Operation Auto Guard” will collaborate with GTA authorities to battle an “ongoing rash of vehicle thefts.”

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