If you thought the Vancouver area’s auto theft problem is concentrated downtown, you’re off the mark. Despite heightened public awareness around car safety, the city of Surrey remains the Lower Mainland’s biggest hotspot for auto theft.

Statistics from Surrey’s RCMP detachment show nearly 3,000 cars were stolen in that area last year. That’s almost double the number of cars stolen in Vancouver, which reported just under 1,500 vehicle thefts last year.

Auto Theft Numbers Tell the Story

However, there is a silver lining within the numbers. Overall, auto theft rates are declining in the Lower Mainland, mirroring a nationwide trend going back more than a decade. Despite auto theft remaining a stubborn problem, the RCMP says vehicle theft has actually plunged in Surrey since 2003. That’s when Surrey was dubbed “The Car Theft Capital of North America,” because it logged more than 8,000 stolen cars.

How Drivers Can Avoid Becoming Victims

The good news for drivers is that there are steps you can take to secure your vehicle.

  • Exercise common sense and make sure to always lock your doors without leaving your keys in the ignition.
  • Never leave any valuables visible in your car, such as smartphones, cash, loose change, or any other items that may appeal to would-be thieves.
  • Consider buying a steering wheel lock to add an extra layer of security to your vehicle.

Vehicles Targeted for Theft

Data also indicates that Metro Vancouver auto thieves tend to target older vehicles. That’s because older automobiles usually don’t have modern anti-theft technology and are easier to break into, according to police.

Who is Behind Most Cases of Auto Theft?

Additionally, those seeking easy break-ins probably aren’t the hardened criminals we might think they are. At least one study claims that most car thieves in British Columbia are young offenders. According to the study, thrill-seeking is one of the most common triggers behind many instances of auto theft. But the study’s authors note that thrill-seeking can have consequences, as car theft often leads to widespread damage to vehicles and other property.

How Police Fight Vehicle Theft

Police in Surrey and throughout the region are doing their best to put a dent in auto theft crime. In targeting high volume car theft areas, police often work with the public to help gather intelligence on possible trouble spots. Surrey RCMP also uses a “Bait Car” program in an effort to nab would-be auto thieves.

In Trouble? You’ve Got Options

Despite best efforts, auto theft persists in Surrey and beyond. If you find yourself being charged with auto theft, be aware that you have rights. The experienced lawyers at Sicotte & Sandhu are trained to deal with auto theft cases and many other criminal matters. If you need representation, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.