Vehicle thefts are up across Canada and the pattern holds true for Saskatchewan.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada reported Tuesday that thefts of vehicles climbed to 85,000 cases in 2017, an increase of about six per cent from 2016.
SGI spokesman Tyler McMurchy said vehicle thefts have jumped 46 per cent over the last five years in Saskatchewan, with 2800 stolen vehicle claims reported in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
While the cost of those claims worked out to over $24 million, McMurchy said the biggest concern with stolen vehicles is the danger they cause when they’re driven recklessly or used to commit other crimes.
“It’s not just a property crime, it’s a public safety issue,” he said, noting about 90 per cent of stolen vehicles get recovered by police, but of those, about half come back so heavily damaged they end up being written off.
While security features have continued to make newer vehicles more difficult to steal, McMurchy said the average stolen vehicle in the province is around 10 years old, with around half of all thefts involving trucks and cars with the keys either inside or nearby.
He stressed that people can help prevent thefts by taking their keys with them whenever they park.
“It sounds like a very simple, obvious thing that people should do, but not everybody does it and vehicles are stolen in this province every single week as a result of people leaving their keys in or near their vehicles.”
Nationally, the Ford F-series pickup trucks were listed as the most stolen vehicle in Canada.
McMurchy said the F-series was also the most commonly stolen vehicle in Saskatchewan, but he stressed that for the most part, thieves aren’t picky.
“Many times, it’s just a crime of opportunity. (Thieves) will take what they can get,” he said.