The Ottawa Police want to remind the community that the risk of thefts, and repeat thefts, of high-end Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Ottawa remains present, particularly with Tacoma and Highlander. There have been 5 luxury vehicle thefts in Kanata (Bridlewood area) in a single overnight; along with multiple vehicles stolen recently in the Crystal Beach and Orleans areas – with no suspect description is currently available.
The Ottawa Police have received over 200 reports of newer model Lexus and Toyota SUVs and Tacomas over the course of 2020 and a further 35 so far this year. Investigators are asking that any Toyota/Lexus SUV or Tacoma owners who notice damage to the driver’s door handle file an information report online. This will assist in identifying the scope of the problem and help direct proactive efforts to the right neighborhoods.
Investigators would like to advise the public that previously targeted addresses have been repeatedly targeted on multiple occasions, with that in mind, they want to remind car owners of the following tips to protect their vehicle:
- Make your vehicle less vulnerable to theft by parking it in a locked garage and or by blocking it in tightly with a second vehicle. Exterior lighting and video surveillance around the driveway can also serve as a deterrent.
- Consider installing an after-market electronic immobilizer device, which can interfere with the starting of the vehicle.
- Be vigilant that there is no damage to the door locks mechanisms, as this could be an indication that your car has been targeted.
- Consider protecting your vehicle with such devices as car alarms or steering wheel locking devices such as “The Club”.
- GPS tracking devices have become increasingly popular. Some even allow the vehicle owner to electronically “fence-in” their vehicle, whereby an alarm cue would occur if the vehicle were to leave the fenced-in area without authorization.
- Locks to restrict access to the on-board diagnostic plug exist and when applied can impede a thief from re-programming a key.
- If you are selling your vehicle, be wary not to let anyone have access to your car keys and do not let your vehicle out of your sight. This prevents a thief from copying your key during a “test drive” so they can return to steal it.
- Finally, good old-fashioned neighbourhood watch is a great deterrent. Be vigilant and call 911 to report any suspicious vehicles in your neighbourhood. Most thefts occur between midnight and 5am in the morning.
Investigators have not yet seen the use of signal amplifiers in Ottawa. In the event that this technology makes its way to Ottawa, a simple line of defense is to consider keeping any vehicle with a proximity key fob inside a radio frequency shield device (RFS device). This will prevent the key fob’s signal from being amplified to the vehicle from inside the house, protecting it from being driven away.
Anyone with information about any of the vehicle thefts is asked to call the Ottawa Police Central Criminal Investigations Section at 613-236-1222 ext. 4127. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca. Additional safety tips are available at safety tips.