Auto theft – a lucrative market - Theft and vandalism - Automobile - Prevention tips - Prevention |

Prevention tips

Theft and vandalism

Did you know that a vehicle is stolen every 25 minutes in Quebec? In 2012, some 20,820 vehicles were stolen.

Why is your car stolen?

Generally, cars are stolen for two reasons:

  • Joyriding: the vehicle is stolen to have a good time. This type of theft is committed by young kids and the vehicle is generally located soon after it's stolen.
  • Organized crime: auto theft is the work of well-organized criminal networks: generally, cars are stolen to be dismantled for parts or made over or cloned. There are also networks that steal to export the cars, especially luxury cars, to other countries.

To find out whether your car is among the top stolen vehicles, check out the list of the top 10 stolen vehicles in Quebec.

Auto theft and insurance

Before you buy or take out a long-term lease, check to see whether the car is on the list. If it is, it will probably cost you more to insure.

Did you know that auto theft also costs insurers a lot of money? Every year, they pay out 10% of your auto insurance premium to cover auto theft payouts.

How is a car stolen?

Most thefts are committed by organized networks. The thief receives an order to steal a specific make or model. Most often, he'll find the car in question in a parking lot.

It doesn't take long to steal a car. It takes just 30 seconds for an experienced thief to steal your car. If you've installed a security system, you'll make his job harder. You'll also contribute to reducing the risk of theft.

Dismantling for parts

Your car is taken to a chop shop where it is partially or completely stripped for parts. The parts are then sold on the recycled-parts black market in Quebec or elsewhere.

Making over or cloning to give a new identity


The three makeover stages for stolen car:

  1. The organized crime network obtains a severely damaged car.
  2. At the same time, it steals a car that is similar to the damaged car.
  3. The VIN is transferred from the damaged car to the stolen car.


Cloning is not quite the same as making over. But it's also meant to give a stolen vehicle a legal identity.

  1. The organized crime network takes the VIN from a parked car.
  2. At the same time, it steals an identical car.
  3. The VIN taken from the parked car is then transferred to the stolen car.
  4. The cloned car is then registered in another province or U.S. state.


Quebec is a strategic hub for exporting stolen vehicles, notably because of its portuary activities. Its proximity to the U.S. border and major waterways makes easy work for thieves.

Late model luxury and SUVs are at risk for this type of theft. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada's Investigative Services, these cars are exported to:

  • Eastern Europe
  • Russia
  • The Middle East
  • South America
  • Africa
  • The Caribbean
  • South-East Asia

Quebec - 2016

Rank Year Make Model
1 2015 Toyota 4Runner 4D
2 2014 Toyota 4Runner 4D
3 2013 Lexus RX350 4D
4 2015 Lexus RX350 4D
5 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4D
6 2015 Infiniti QX60 4D
7 2008 BMW 335xi 2D
8 2013 Toyota 4Runner 4D
9 2014 Lexus RX350 4D
10 2002 Lexus IS 300 4D

Source: Groupement des assureurs automobiles (Most often stolen vehicles - theft ratio)

N.B. The ratio is established by comparing the number of vehicles stolen versus the number of vehicles insured. In addition, only models with a minimum of 100 vehicles insured in Quebec are considered in this listing.