News Alberta leads country in auto theft numbers

17:16  18 may  2017
17:16  18 may  2017 Source:   Metro News

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David Lawrence was surprised to find his truck at a scrap yard four months after he reported it stolen. It still had his licence plate attached.: Alberta leads country in auto theft numbers © Jennifer Friesen / For Metro Alberta leads country in auto theft numbers

When David Lawrence found his stolen truck at a Calgary scrapyard back in March, he couldn’t understand how it had been bought and sold multiple times, with his licence plate still attached.

Now Metro News has learned that Calgary Police Service is leading an effort by all provincial law enforcement agencies to bring about changes to the provincial registration system.

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Detective David Bailey with the CPS auto theft unit could not go into detail about what changes they are seeking because weaknesses can be exploited by would-be thieves.

“We are working with stakeholders throughout Alberta,” he said. “We’re going to try to push for changes.”

When it comes to stolen vehicles in Canada, Alberta is number one.

Numbers provided to Metro by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) show that more than 3,900 vehicles disappeared without a trace from this province in 2016.

It was the highest theft rate per capita in the country.

In Calgary alone, more than 900 cars were stolen and unrecovered last year. With the average value of each vehicle coming it at more than $20,000, that puts the total loss to Calgarians north of $18 million.

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Dan Service, western and Pacific director of investigative services for IBC, says the Alberta numbers have nearly doubled since 2014.

“This is not the Bermuda Triangle of vehicles,” said Service. “Those 3,900 vehicles, they went somewhere.”

He said the insurance industry knows stolen vehicles generally end up in a number of places – broken down and sold for parts, or put in sea cans to be sent overseas.

It’s also well known that organized crime plays a big role in making vehicles disappear. Service said stealing and laundering a stolen car takes a network of people.

Protecting Albertans’ vehicles falls to Service Alberta, and IBC was not prepared to fault that government department.

“Service Alberta is an exceptional and valued partner who is managing a difficult balance between fiscal responsibility and aging systems,” said Service.

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