It's the most wonderful time of the year – unless your car or truck has recently been stolen, which seems to be more likely every year, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada's (IBC) latest statistics.
The national organization that represents Canadian insurance companies has released its latest vehicle theft numbers, which indicate that car theft was up 6 percent nationwide in 2017 over the year before, with police reporting nearly 85,000 vehicles as stolen. Much of that national increase can be attributed to New Brunswick and Ontario, where theft rates were up by 28(!) and 15 percent respectively.
Other provinces that saw increases were Quebec and Alberta (7 and 6 percent), and BC and Newfoundland and Labrador (2 and 1 percent).
Theft may be on the rise, but the latest stats show little difference in the specific vehicles being taken compared to previous years. Across Canada, Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks from model years 2001 through 2006 occupy spots one through eight and 10 on the top-10 list. The 2015 Lexus GX 460 is number nine.
In truck-crazy Alberta, the F-Series Super Duty occupies spots one through seven and nine, with the 1996 and 2000 Honda Civic hatchback in spots eight and 10.
In Ontario, thieves' taste run to full-size General Motors SUVs and pickups: the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs and Silverado, Sierra, and Avalanche pickups occupy all spots on the top 10 but number four, where we find the Ford F-350.
We don't start seeing some variety until we get to Quebec, where the Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler, and Honda Pilot each make multiple appearances. The Acura MDX and Honda CR-V are here, too, with the non-SUV outlier being the Toyota Prius V, in ninth and 10th spots.
The most variety comes from Canada's Atlantic provinces, where thieves most commonly target the 2009 Nissan Maxima, 2002 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, and 2011 Jeep Liberty. Naturally, there's a Ford F-250 in sixth place, and the 2015 Mitsubishi RVR, 1999 VW New Beetle, and 2015 Mini Cooper also make the list.
IBC doesn't have specific vehicle stats for BC, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or Yukon.
The insurance organization says more cars are stolen on New Year's Day than any other day of the year. They surmise this is because many people are travelling for the holidays in cars full of gifts, so they warn drivers to pack and park with care.
IBC says the low rate at which police recover stolen cars suggests the bulk of the crimes are being committed by car theft rings who use the profits to fund other criminal activities. They're either selling the cars they steal to unsuspecting used vehicle buyers or exporting them.