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Canadian cops to car owners: Leave your keys at the front door so thieves will not have to break into your house
By Belle Carter // Mar 25, 2024

Canadian policemen are advising people to leave their keys in areas that are more accessible to criminals so they won't not have to break into their houses to steal them – a confrontation-less way to have cars stolen.

"To prevent the possibility of being attacked in your home, leave your fobs at your front door..." Toronto Police recommended amid rampant car theft in Canada. According to reports, a car is stolen every six minutes in the country.

At an Etobicoke community safety meeting last month, Toronto Police Service Constable Marco Ricciardi told attendees "To prevent the possibility of being attacked in your home, leave your fobs at your front door, because they're breaking into your home to steal your car. They don't want anything else." (Related: Criminals increasingly targeting KEYLESS VEHICLES in "carhacking" surge.)

People are aware of the rampant crimes. In fact, a New York Times report indicated that Dennis Wilson, owner of a Honda CR-V, installed two alarm systems, a tracking device, four AirTags and kept the key fob in a signal-jamming Faraday bag to deter thieves. The owner's home also has two motion-sensor floodlights pointed at his driveway which features a parking bollard. When the car is parked, he puts boot-style locks on all four wheels and a steering wheel club, even in the driveway, to keep it from being stolen. But car theft in Toronto have gotten so bad, they are to the point that car owners have even left notes on their vehicles' windows that doors were unlocked, hoping that the windows wouldn't be smashed in.

With all of these security gadgets, Wilson is convinced they will do no more than delay what seems inevitable as "professional" carnappers won't really be deterred by the defensive gear, and they'll make off with this Honda SUV just as they did with its predecessor, and its insurance replacement, which they returned to steal. "By no means do I think that I've stopped them," Wilson said. "All I've done is make it take an extra 10 minutes to steal my car."

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According to a local feature on blogTo, Toronto police had previously launched a campaign that told criminals how long they would have to finish a crime (an average of 22 minutes) before police would respond. The move was reportedly an attempt to prevent budget cuts.

Also, a report of the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association (CFLA) revealed in a new report that car theft has reached a critical point, costing the country a whopping $1 billion annually. It found a 300 percent surge in vehicle theft since 2015 in Toronto alone and last year marked the "most notorious" year for it. "It's become common, and we had to develop recommendations to address it," said Michael Rothe, president and CEO of the CFLA, in a statement. "Almost everyone I speak to has a story about vehicle theft and our latest report proves it."

Police backtracks "leave your fobs" advice

Following a massive social media backlash, Toronto police are taking back the statement they released on how to prevent auto theft.

Users on social media were quick to point out the "'irresponsible advice.' "Toronto Police have advised residents worried about the city's spiraling auto theft problem, just let thieves steal your car by leaving them the keys." The website thedrive.com, billed as "the chronicle of car culture," made a similar point.

"An officer at a recent community meeting suggested that people leave the keys to their vehicle in a Faraday bag by the front door," a post in X, former Twitter, said, without naming the officer in question. "While well-meaning, there are better ways to prevent auto theft-motivated home invasions."

The suggestions include parking in a garage if possible, keeping the driveway well-lit, and installing security measures in and around your home such as cameras, motion detectors, security film on glass windows, and multipoint door locks. The police also warned against posting on social media when you will be away on holiday. In the Etobicoke meeting, Ricciardi noted that keeping your routine unpredictable can help. "If I watch you for three or four days am I going to pick up your habits?" he asked. "And if that is, try to vary them a little bit."

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