Created on Friday, 19 November 2010
In early November, the federal government passed an innovative new bill known as The Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act, or Bill S-9.
The main objective of Bill S-9 is to tackle auto theft and, in particular, organized crimes' increasing role in stolen vehicles.
Bill S-9 will create a separate offence regarding the theft of a motor vehicle, and carry a mandatory prison sentence of six months for conviction of a third offence or subsequent offence when prosecuted by indictment by the crown.
It will establish a new offence for altering, destroying or removing a vehicle identification number (VIN), and it will also be an offence to traffic in property obtained by crime; and an offence to possess such property for the purpose of trafficking.
A provision in the Bill allows the Canadian Border Services Agency to detain vehicles and other properties that are suspected of being stolen, before these items are exported from Canada. This will help to reduce the number of stolen vehicles leaving the country.
The passing of Bill S-9 is a move that the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) has strongly advocated from the start, and it's an issue that the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) also supports.
The TADA echoes the sentiments of CADA president and CEO, Richard Gauthier, who said in a statement: "The CADA commends the hard work of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Minister Nicholson and his Conservative Caucus members pushed hard for this legislation and deserve real credit for listening to dealers and average Canadians concerned about auto theft."
For decades, auto theft has been a problem in Canada. Statistics Canada estimates that a vehicle is stolen every three minutes on average, which costs taxpayers, police, insurance companies, government and car dealerships $1 billion per year.
Auto theft has become so prevalent in this country because penalties for conviction have been relatively light and ineffective. Bill S-9 will make it tougher for criminals and organized crime to conduct unlawful activity with impunity.
Dealerships have become very security-conscious with their inventories and with customers' vehicles. High-tech security systems and tracking procedures are employed to minimize the risk of vehicle theft.
Dealer personnel are especially vigilant about key security. Most dealers will not cut a duplicate key without insisting on seeing proper identification, and most manufacturers' keys cannot be easily duplicated. Today's keys contain encoding that is unique to a particular vehicle.
It's encouraging that the government is finally getting tough on auto theft. But consumers need to take it upon themselves to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of this type of crime.
Here are some ideas to safeguard your vehicle.