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Winnipeg Police Service

Crime Prevention > Auto Theft Prevention

Auto Theft Prevention | Auto Theft Strategy | Comercial Stolen Auto| Statistics | Resources | Anti-Theft Devices | Check On Stolen Property | Frequently asked Questions

Preventing Auto Theft

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) is actively involved with a number of initiatives aimed at reducing auto theft in Winnipeg. In 2004 auto theft in Winnipeg reached record highs with a total of 8,718 thefts, an average of 24 vehicle thefts per day (WPS 2004 Annual Report). During the final quarter of 2004, on average 30 vehicles were stolen per day in Winnipeg.

In 2005 the Winnipeg Police Service partnered with MPI and Manitoba Justice in the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy (WATSS). This multi-agency approach has proven to be quite successful and since 2004 there has been a dramatic decrease in stolen vehicle occurrences.

From January 2012 to December 2012 there were 1280 vehicle thefts, with an average of only 3.5 vehicles stolen per day, an approximate 85.4% reduction from 2004 in which the yearly total was 8767 vehicles and a daily average of 24 vehicles stolen.

Although the reductions have been quite significant, more work needs to be done. In 2010 the goal is to build on the current successes of WATSS and other initiatives by the Winnipeg Police Service and its partners. Auto theft is a public safety issue and not simply a property crime. Fewer stolen vehicles on Winnipeg streets reduce the potential for serious accidents and harm to the public. The Winnipeg Police Service is strongly committed to creating further reductions in order to protect public safety and the property of citizens.

Top 10 Stolen Vehicles in Winnipeg

2010

2011

2012

1. Dodge Caravan
2. Pontiac Sunfire
3. Chev Silverado
4. Ford F350
5. Honda Civic
6. Chev Venture
7. Ford Windstar
8. Ford F150
9. Chev Malibu
10. Chev Cavalier

1. Pontiac Sunfire
2. Dodge Ram
3. Pontiac Grand Am
4. Honda Civic
5. Chev Cavalier
6. Ford F150
7. Dodge Caravan
8. Dodge Dakota
9. Chev Silverado
10.GMC Sierra


1. Honda Civic

2. Mazda Protégé
3. Chevrolet Impala
4. Chevrolet Malibu
5. Ford F150
6. Chev Silverado
7. Olds Alero
8. Pontiac Grand Prix
9. Chevrolet Venture Van
10.Dodge Caravan

The table above shows both past and current auto theft trends in Winnipeg (Source: WPS Stolen Auto Unit). Theft trends change over time due to a number of factors and any vehicle that is capable of being stolen is a potential threat to public safety. Citizens can assist the police in fighting auto theft by using an appropriate anti-theft device.

Stolen Auto Facts

  • Over 87% of vehicles stolen in Winnipeg are recovered. These stolen vehicles are typically used for transportation, thrill seeking, or to commit other crimes.
  • Over 50% of all thefts involve vehicles that were manufactured prior to 2002. Approximately 10% of all stolen vehicles are three years old or less. 
  • As part of the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy, the highest risk auto thieves are designated as Level 4’s. The number varies and there are approximately 100 Level 4 Offenders at any given time. Typically 50% or more are in custody at any given time. 
  • Some factory installed immobilizers can be defeated by the majority of auto thieves (this does not include after-market MPI immobilizers). Factory immobilizers can give vehicle owners a false sense of security. Visit the Manitoba Public Insurance website to see if your vehicle is at risk. If your vehicle is vulnerable you should strongly consider an additional measure of protection such as a steering wheel club, immobilizer or other anti-theft device.  

What To Do If Your Vehicle Has Been Stolen

  • Make sure your vehicle was stolen, not towed or repossessed. If you were not parked illegally and have been making payments on your car, it is safe to assume your car was stolen.
  • Call 204-986-6222 to report the date, time and place of theft. Give police information such as the license number, make, model, color, value and year of your vehicle.
  • Notify Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) of your insurance claim at 204-985-7000.
  • If you recover your vehicle on your own, notify the police immediately. This will avoid you being pulled over for driving a stolen vehicle.

What A Car Thief Looks For

  • Vehicles not protected with anti-theft devices.
  • Particular make and model. Is your vehicle in the top 10?
  • High volume parking areas with easy entry and exits such as parking lots.
  • Vehicles parked in poorly lit locations away from public view.
  • Keys in the vehicle ignition or in plain view inside the vehicle.
  • Vehicles left unlocked and/or windows open.
  • Valuables left in plain view inside your vehicle.
  • Vehicles left running.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TO PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE & PROPERTY

  • Use an anti-theft device. For the device to be effective, remember you must use it properly. Anti-theft devices include the Immobilizer, Car Alarm or Steering Wheel Club
  • If you have a garage, park your vehicle inside.
  • Remove or disconnect the battery in your vehicle if you will be parking it for prolonged periods. Travelers and Snowbirds should do this to reduce the risk
  • Remove licence plates from vehicles that are parked for prolonged periods of time on your property. Offenders often steal these plates to deter police, thus being able to keep stolen vehicles for longer periods of time.
  • Don't leave your garage door opener on the dashboard or front seat. Put it in your glove box, hide it - or take it with you. Thieves can use this and the address on your vehicle registration to break into your home.
  • Keep your driver's license and vehicle registration with you. Left with your car, the documents reveal your address and can be used by a thief to target your home for a break and enter. If more than one persons needs to have the registration - make photocopies.
  • Car keys left at home (or at your business) should always be hidden. This will help prevent the theft of your vehicle if your home (or business) is broken into.
  • If you wish more information or have any questions about preventing Auto Theft, please contact the Winnipeg Police Service Community Relations Unit at 204-986-6322.

 



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Last update: July 2, 2013

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