York Regional Police said they have launched Operation Auto Guard in a bid to target high-end auto thefts.
“Operation Auto Guard will incorporate a robust crime prevention campaign into ongoing enforcement efforts, which includes data-driven solutions, targeted community engagement and the give away of crime prevention tools to help our citizens avoid becoming victims of vehicle theft,” police said.
“Along with police agencies across the Greater Toronto Area, YRP has been battling this ongoing rash of vehicle thefts with increased targeted enforcement and large-scale, joint-forces operations with our police and community partners. Operation Auto Guard will support these efforts.”
York police said they’ve seen an almost 50 per cent increase in vehicle thefts compared with this time last year.
Compared with 2019, they’re on pace for an increase of around 200 per cent.
This year, almost 3,300 vehicles have been stolen so far.
Crime analysts have compiled data from across York Region focusing on the south end, including Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan, identifying neighbourhoods that are prone to vehicle thefts, police said.
They’ve also determined the top five vehicles most commonly targeted: Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX350, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Ram 1500 and GMC Yukon.
Police said officers will be going door to door in the most affected neighbourhoods to educate individuals and provide crime prevention information.
They will also be given Faraday bags, which block signal-duplicating devices used to replicate key fobs, police said.
Those bags are also available at police stations if residents want to pick one up.
Operation Auto Guard began last week and also includes community forums and a social media campaign.
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