In 2014, Torontonians endured 3,516 auto thefts, up one percent from the year before, and 1,010 general thefts, up three percent from 2012, according to the latest Toronto police reports. Burglaries and robberies were also commonplace.
Any city dweller knows urban life carries some risk for theft and other criminal activity. Although Toronto’s overall crime rate is lower than most North American cities its size, it’s still high enough for residents and business owners to worry. How should the natives protect their property, not to mention those near and dear?
The answers aren't always clear, even though security strategists have plenty of tips. However, every Toronto dweller can benefit from knowing a few facts about theft in the GTA. In this, it may be that forewarned is truly forearmed.
1. Automobiles are (still) a popular target.
According to Lojack Canada, thieves take 37 cars in Toronto every day. Never mind the insurance losses; if your car is stolen, it makes life more difficult for you and those around you. Annual losses total well over half a million dollars in repair and replacement costs. And that’s not counting police and court costs.
Topping the ten-most stolen vehicles is the 2007 Ford line of F350 trucks. At the bottom of the list is the 2003 Ford 350. If you own a 1999 Honda Civic coupe (2 door), beware; that’s also high on the list. To see the others, take a look at this IBC article on the most popular stolen vehicles. That said, any car can be a potential target for an eager thief.
Pay attention to your surroundings. Check on your vehicle periodically. Try to find other means of transport during the evening hours. Also, because area carjackings can happen anywhere in the GTA, keep your doors locked while you’re inside your car. Don’t give car keys to a parking attendant, and never leave them in the ignition.
2. Bikes tempt Toronto and Scarborough thieves, too.
While it may not surprise Toronto residents to know that thieves love stealing bicycles, it is surprising how many bike owners still forget to lock their bicycles. Many also choose cheap locks that are easy to open.
Experts suggest that bicycle owners lock their bikes even when they’re in the garage at home. When in the city, always lock at least one of the wheels plus the bike frame to a bicycle rack. It’s also good to bolt down the seat instead of using an easy-release seat.
If you really want to keep an expensive bicycle safe, keep it locked securely at home for special uses. For the day-to-day travels, ride a beater bike that won’t tempt most thieves.
3. Even plants are not immune.
It may be shocking to learn that some thieves even target Toronto and North York gardens. In 2013, a Riverdale homeowner noticed two of his most expensive specimens, an exotic cactus and a bamboo plant, suddenly went missing from his designer garden. In another instance, the staff at a Leslieville garden supply centre noticed a rise in flower-basket thefts during prime planting season.
Unfortunately, there are few obvious remedies for plant thefts. Gardens lie in the open for a reason, but this makes them nearly impossible to protect. If municipal gardeners use tall fences around their botanical gardens, that offers some protection. Otherwise, vigilance is key.
4. Shopping malls and retail centres continue to attract burglars.
Commercial establishments are no stranger to robbers and furtive burglars. Despite installing security cameras on site and bolts on doors, business owners are still not completely immune from theft. Some thieves are either persistent—or desperate—enough that they can still find a way to cause problems for Toronto retailers and mall owners.
To save money, some malls and shopping centres hire minimal security personnel who aren’t able to cover the full length of the property regularly. They may also have outdated security products like non-functional motion detectors or antiquated locking systems.
All it takes is one persistent thief who knows the store’s security weaknesses. Here, too, vigilance is key. To strengthen your premises against theft, call a commercial locksmith and a reputable security specialist to assess your property.
5. Distracted homeowners are always an easy mark.
Life is busy, and it’s easy to forget even basic precautions when you rush away from home. Whether it’s a short absence or a lengthy summer vacation that takes you away, an observant thief may notice.
The surprising element is how many homeowners neglect the basics. Most put their trust in antiquated or insufficient locking systems when it’s a simple matter to get a strong deadbolt from their locksmith. Or, they never re-key their home, despite giving out spare keys to neighbours and friends over the years. Worse yet, they may leave their home unlocked.
Today’s technology makes it possible to lock your home up tight with relative ease. All you need to do is call your local locksmith, and it’s done. For locksmith services in the Scarborough and Toronto area call .
Theft happens, and it happens often in Toronto. Protect yourself and your property by taking the necessary precautions before you become just another victim. That’s the best way to avoid unpleasant surprises and stay safe, no matter where you may be.
Affordable Lock is a locksmith in Markham serving the Greater Toronto Area, including Scarborough, Aurora, North York, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Stouffville. With over 30 years of experience, we pride ourselves on looking after your commercial or residential locksmith needs. Affordable Lock’s showroom in Markham showcases a wide selection of keys, locks and an assortment of other security products for your home or business. Whether you are looking to upgrade your home or business’s security, or solve security issues, Affordable Lock Services Inc. in Markham is here for you! Give us a call today.