York Regional Police are launching Operation Auto Guard in response to an increase in auto thefts in the area.
The multifaceted crime prevention campaign will target high-end auto thefts in York Regional Police’s ongoing enforcement efforts.
“York Regional Police has seen an almost 50 per cent increase in vehicle thefts compared to this time last year and compared to 2019, we’re on pace for a staggering increase of approximately 200 per cent,” a news release for the campaign said. “This year alone, close to 3,300 vehicles have been stolen so far.”
As part of the multifaceted approach to the campaign, York Regional Police will be hosting community forums in each district to provide residents the opportunity to engage in crime prevention discussions; distributing crime prevention pamphlets and 21,000 Faraday bags; launching a social media campaign to promote awareness; and leveraging relationships through neighbourhood watch programs to disseminate information.
The campaign includes data-driven solutions, targeted community engagement, and police will be giving away crime prevention tools to help residents avoid becoming victims of vehicle theft.
“Our crime analysts have compiled data from across the region, specifically focusing on the south end, including the cities of Markham, Richmond and Vaughan, identifying neighbourhoods that are prone to vehicle thefts,” the news release said.
According to the police, the top five vehicles most often targeted are: Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX350, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Ram 1500 and GMC Yukon.
“Officers will be going door-to-door in these neighbourhoods to educate residents and provide them with crime prevention information and Faraday bags, an effective tool that blocks signal-duplicating devices used to replicate key fobs,” the news release said. Faraday bags are also available at each district station for pick up by citizens.”
York Regional Police have posted a video online here showing several ways thieves steal vehicles.