Combating vehicle theft in Leaside

I have heard from many Leaside residents who are concerned about or have been impacted by vehicle theft, an issue that has been growing across our city, province, and country. Last year, rates of vehicle theft rose by 50% from the previous year in Quebec, 48.3% in Ontario, 34.5% in Atlantic Canada, and 18.35% in Alberta. It is estimated that in 2022, approximately 9,600 vehicles were stolen in the Toronto area alone, representing a 300% increase since 2015.

The City of Toronto is supporting the Toronto Police Service (TPS) in their efforts to prevent auto theft and recover stolen vehicles. In the 2024 budget, City Council granted the full funding requested by the TPS, with a priority emphasis on addressing vehicle theft. Last year, parking enforcement officers began conducting patrols in vehicles equipped with infrared roof cameras. Using special licence plate recognition software, the infrared cameras can immediately identify the licence plates of vehicles that have been reported as stolen. This information is then shared with the police, which can help speed up the investigation process and stop vehicle theft rings.

Locally, I am continuing to work with the communities of Ward 15 – Don Valley West on this issue. Last month, I held a meeting with a group of Leaside neighbours who have been affected by vehicle theft and senior officials from 53 Division. We discussed community safety on the ground in Leaside as well as effective crime prevention measures. Staff Sergeant John Stockfish encouraged residents to consider having a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessment of their home undertaken by the local Crime Prevention Officer. For more information, visit the Toronto Police Service website ( or call 53 Division at 416-808-5300.

That said, preventing vehicle theft requires intervention from all levels of government. Officials now believe that transnational criminal organizations often ship stolen vehicles overseas. The TPS has also indicated that the technologies used to steal vehicles are becoming more readily available, making it critical for auto manufacturers to begin incorporating anti-theft modifications into vehicle designs. Last term, City Council voted to request the federal and provincial governments to introduce coordinated measures to prevent vehicle theft, including at the time of manufacture.

As your City Councillor, this issue has remained top of mind for me at City Hall and I am pleased that it is becoming a focus for other levels of government. Last year, the Province announced an $18 million-dollar investment over three years to help police forces across Ontario combat and prevent auto theft through the Preventing Auto Theft (PAT) Grant. In January, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $121 million to help address crime and safety issues in Ontario, including vehicle theft and organized crime groups. On February 8, the federal government hosted a National Summit on Combating Auto Theft, which included representatives from government, industry, and law enforcement.


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About Jaye Robinson 51 Articles
Jaye Robinson is City Councillor for Ward 15.