Amid a rash of stolen cars across the city, Barrhaven sticks out as a vehicle theft hot spot, according to Ottawa police data.
More than 1,200 car thefts have been reported so far this year, police say, with 85 stolen cars reported in November alone.
Here’s where vehicle thefts are happening:
Police data shows about one in five car thefts occur in Barrhaven. The police service’s open source crime map, which details where various crimes occur across the city, shows few streets have been spared in the sprawling suburban neighbourhood.
Both of Barrhaven’s city councillors say the data doesn’t come as a surprise.
Barrhaven East Coun. Wilson Lo says car theft concerns were brought up during his time campaigning last year and are frequently discussed on local social media groups.
“There certainly is worry, frustration among residents,” Lo said in an interview Monday. “People are wondering, ‘Why is it so easy for cars to get to Montreal so quickly?’ ”
In a press release, Ottawa police said, “Experts have trained patrol officers on the current trends,” as well as “the technologies and methods needed to intercept thefts in progress before they leave the city.”
The press release also said police have made more than 80 arrests, and 315 cars have been recovered — about one quarter of all stolen cars this year.
Lo says police have been cracking down on street racing in the neighbourhood, but some residents still want to see more police patrolling Barrhaven. But, he added, “most people understand they can’t be everywhere at once.”
Barrhaven West Coun. David Hill said he recently hosted a standing-room-only meeting to discuss safety and security in the community, addressing both recent car thefts and break-ins. He’s been advocating for the Ottawa Police Service to station more police officers in his ward, and also wants to see the automotive industry take strides to improve security features.
Police say luxury SUVs and trucks are commonly stolen, but thefts aren’t limited to Lexuses and Toyotas. Cars with push-start buttons, including the Toyota Rav4, Honda CRV, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford F-series trucks have also been targeted. Police say thieves have been arrested with weapons such as stun guns, pepper spray or crow bars.
Hill said he is “keen” to see security technology in the automotive industry improve, and will be lobbying the Canadian Motor Vehicle Association.
“I don’t want to see a heat map like this a few years from now,” Hill said.
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