As Oakville auto thefts rise, police encourage use of GPS trackers

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Published May 15, 2023 at 3:46 pm

Halton Regional Police Service has launched a new initiative to help combat auto thefts in the Town of Oakville. Project Oxygen encourages residents to place third-party GPS trackers inside their vehicles. PEXELS PHOTO

Aftermarket GPS trackers and where they are installed in your vehicle may prevent you from being the next auto theft victim in Oakville.

From 2021 to 2022, auto thefts in Halton Region have increased by approximately 49 per cent, with Oakville and Burlington being the hardest hit.

Across Ontario, a car is stolen every 48 minutes and auto thefts have risen over 72 per cent from 2014 to 2021. Last year alone they increased by 14 per cent in the province.

Aftermarket trackers are proven to work and have contributed to the recovery of approximately 40 per cent of stolen vehicles in Oakville. Now Halton Regional Police hope their broader use will reduce auto thefts and lead to even more recoveries.

To help combat auto thefts in Oakville, Halton police have launched Project Oxygen which encourages residents to put trackers (such as an Apple Air Tag, Tile, Galaxy Smart Tag or Atuvos) inside their vehicles.

Tracker tools utilize technology to relay the location of a stolen vehicle to its rightful owner. Armed with this information, police say they are in a better position to recover the vehicle and make an arrest(s).

Having a tracker just isn’t enough though, say police. The key to success is the location of the aftermarket tracker in the automobile.

While a thief may become aware of the presence of an aftermarket tracker, a well-hidden device or one placed in a hard-to-reach location will give police valuable time to locate the stolen vehicle or cause the thieves to abandon the stolen vehicle.

Local auto dealerships are providing police help with these efforts. They have agreed to install aftermarket trackers for Oakville residents who own the dealership’s make of vehicle (vehicle owner must provide tracker).

Those dealerships include the following:

  • Oakville Toyota (2375 Wyecroft Rd)
  • Lexus of Oakville (1453 North Service Rd West)
  • Oakville Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (270 Oak Park Blvd)
  • South Oakville Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (175 Wyecroft Rd)
  • Budds’ Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC (410 South Service Rd)
  • Budds’ Imported Cars Jaguar Land Rover (227 Wyecroft Rd)

To book an appointment or for more information, residents are being asked to contact their dealership directly.

A well-hidden aftermarket tracker has been proven to be successful in locating stolen vehicles and arresting thieves involved in auto theft.

Halton police encourage all Halton residents to consider placing trackers in their vehicles, in conjunction with these other auto theft prevention tips:

  • Park your vehicle in a locked garage
  • Block the exit of a potential target vehicle with a second vehicle parked behind it
  • Install an on-board diagnostic blocker/protector
  • Use of a steering wheel lock device
  • Home security cameras on the exterior of the residence
  • Install a kill switch in your vehicle

In announcement made in Oakville earlier this month, the province said it was providing police with $51 million in new measures over three years to help them identify and dismantle organized crime networks and put them in jail.

The measures include the creation of an Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team led by the Ontario Provincial Police, a new community safety grant that targets auto thefts and the creation of a new Major Auto Theft Prosecution Response Team.

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