Surge In Vehicle Thefts Prompts National Action Plan In Canada … And Costco To Sell Driveway Bollards?

A wave of vehicle thefts has swept across Canada in the recent months, with Montreal and Toronto being the most targeted cities. The crime trend, dubbed a “national crisis” by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, has seen thousands of stolen vehicles shipped through the busy Port of Montreal to overseas markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Thieves are believed to be using sophisticated devices that intercept and copy the frequencies of electronic key fobs, allowing them to easily drive away with the vehicles. The crime wave has its roots in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted global supply chains and created a high demand for vehicles while supply was at its lowest.

Related: Toronto Grapples with Dramatic Increase in Carjackings, Police Chief Says It’s ‘Not Just A Law Enforcement Problem’

Organized crime networks are now behind most of the thefts, with the number of car thefts perpetrated by these groups increasing by 62% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Insurers collectively paid out C$1.5 billion (US$1.1 billion) in claims for stolen vehicles in Canada in 2023, a staggering 254% increase from 2018.

In response to the crisis, the Canadian government in May announced the release of the National Action Plan on Combatting Auto Theft. The plan focuses on disrupting, dismantling, and prosecuting the organized crime groups involved in auto theft through legislative and regulatory changes, intelligence sharing enhancements, and intervention improvements.

The government has proposed amendments to the Criminal Code to institute tougher penalties for auto theft with ties to violence, organized crime, and money laundering, as well as new offenses targeting the possession and distribution of devices that facilitate auto theft. The Canada Border Services Agency will also increase its capacity to examine shipping containers and integrate new targeting tools to intercept stolen vehicles before they leave the country.

The National Action Plan will be continuously reviewed and updated to respond to this evolving criminal trend, with the government working closely with partners to make it harder to steal cars, move stolen vehicles to ports, target and prosecute criminals, and recover stolen vehicles in ports and rail yards.

Costco (Nasdaq: COST), meanwhile, is taking advantage of the crisis (or being proactive, depending on how you look at it). The TikTok account CostcofindsCanada has found that the retail giant is now selling security bollards to help common consumers secure their vehicles.

The driveway bollards, made by Ontario Bollards, go for C$569.99.

Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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