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Posted on Tuesday September 26, 2023

York Regional Police is proud to announce a multifaceted crime prevention campaign targeting high-end auto thefts dubbed Operation Auto Guard.

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.

York Regional Police has seen an almost 50 per cent increase in vehicle thefts compared to this time last year and compared to 2019, we’re on pace for a staggering increase of approximately 200 per cent. This year alone, close to 3,300 vehicles have been stolen so far.

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.

Our crime analysts have compiled data from across the region, specifically focusing on the south end, including the Cities of Markham, Richmond and Vaughan, identifying neighbourhoods that are prone to vehicle thefts and the top five vehicles most often targeted, which include: Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX350, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Ram 1500 and GMC Yukon.

Officers will be going door-to-door in these neighbourhoods to educate residents and provide them with crime prevention information and Faraday bags, an effective tool that blocks signal-duplicating devices used to replicate key fobs. Faraday bags are also available at each district station for pick up by citizens.

Videos showing several ways thieves steal vehicles and highlights of our press conference can be found here:

We began this campaign last week and have attended a number of key locations including: Vaughan Mills Mall, Hillcrest Mall, Promenade Mall, Canada’s Wonderland, Richmond Hill Legion and various gyms.

Our multifaceted approach also includes:

  • Community forums hosted in each district, providing residents an opportunity to engage in crime prevention discussions
  • Crime prevention pamphlets as attached and 21,000 Faraday bags will be distributed across the identified neighbourhoods in Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham
  • A social media campaign will be employed to promote crime prevention tips and community awareness relating to auto thefts
  • Crime Prevention Unit officers will leverage existing relationships through the Neighbourhood Watch Program and other partnerships, to disseminate this information across various social media platforms

For more information, contact York Regional Police Corporate Communications at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 2664.

Prepared by: Constable Maniva Armstrong

                      September 26, 2023