SPVM reports | Explosion in car theft in Montreal

According to authorities, thefts in Montreal, especially vehicle thefts, have increased markedly since the end of the pandemic, a phenomenon exacerbated by the shortage of new cars due to the pandemic.


For the first time, the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) has published statistical reports on crimes committed in each of its 29 neighborhood police stations.

This information was compiled by Pressreports a significant increase in the number of thefts, especially involving vehicles, in the city last year compared to 2021.

During the nine months of 2022, no less than 7,161 “cars” were stolen, which is a 62% increase compared to the same period of the previous year.


Said deficiency

According to SPVM, this phenomenon is partially explained by the lack of vehicles caused by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant shortages in all sectors of the economy around the world. This is the case for the semiconductor industry, which is a key component of electronic chips, these essential parts for the production of motor vehicles,” Commander Yannick Desmarais said in an emailed letter. Press.

“As a result, the price of those already on the road has increased significantly, which has made them even more attractive to thieves,” he continues.

According to Captain Yannick Desmarais, stolen cars are not usually destined for the local resale market.

Indeed, the operation would be very complicated, especially because of the serial numbers that allow the authorities to track them at the time of registration.

Most of the vehicles stolen in Montreal are intended for “export abroad,” especially because of the port’s strategic location, he notes. In another case, the vehicle is dismantled and its parts are sold on the local illegal market.

Simple mode of operation

According to CAA-Quebec automotive expert Jesse Caro, the increase in car thefts can be explained very simply: the number of cars equipped with “smart” keys is only increasing. CAA-Quebec says none of the 10 most stolen vehicles in Quebec in 2020 were more than four years old.

Thieves will operate in a very simple way, this expert explains, by using a signal “booster” near the victim’s residence, where smart keys are often stored in the gate. The partner will then park next to the targeted vehicle and be ready to open the door once the signal is transmitted to the vehicle.

A simple way to protect against this type of theft is to store your keys in an RFID-type radio frequency blocking box.

A simpler version might be to put the keys in a metal box with a lid, like a tea box, explains Jesse Caron. A steering wheel lock is also a good alternative.

SPVM says it has deployed additional resources to investigate car thefts since 2021. Commander Yannick Desmarais added: “An integrated team of different police departments, of which we are a part, has also been created to combine police efforts with the aim of combating the phenomenon as effectively as possible in 2021.”

And other flights

In addition to car theft, Montrealers are reporting more and more burglaries since 2021. In fact, theft and robbery increased by 26% and 18% respectively in the first three quarters.

There has also been a marked increase in burglaries in the French capital, with 4,616 incidents of this type during the first nine months of 2022, a 27% increase compared to the same period in 2021.

Finally, in another category, the number of people suspended for impaired driving last year also increased significantly compared to the first nine months of 2021; There were still 758 drink-driving arrests in the first three quarters of the year, compared to 1,040 in 2022.

With the collaboration of Pierre-André Normandin, Press

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