Over 1,000 Stolen Vehicles Recovered
An 11-month Toronto Police Service (TPS) investigation into car thefts in the city has led to the recovery of 1,080 vehicles and 553 charges laid against 228 people.
Project Stallion ran in 22 and 23 Divisions to address the spike in auto and catalytic converter thefts in the divisions that cover Etobicoke.
The combined value of the recovered vehicles is approximately $60 million.
“These results demonstrate how seriously we are taking this issue, but we recognize that for many people in this city, their vehicles may never be recovered and, more importantly, their feelings of safety and security have been compromised,” said Superintendent Ron Taverner at a media conference at Toronto Police College on October 25 where five of the recovered vehicles were on display.
“This can happen as a result of having your car stolen out of your driveway, but even more so if you have been a victim of a carjacking or other forms of violence which can be incredibly traumatic for victims and their loved ones.”
Taverner said the project conclusion does not mark the end of the Service’s commitment to addressing the issue.
“We want the public to know that tackling auto thefts remains a top priority for the Toronto Police Service and our partners,” he said.
Of the 1,080 vehicles stolen, about 95% were recovered in the Greater Toronto Area. A number were found in the Port of Montreal, destined to be shipped abroad.
“It is a mixed bag of where these vehicles were located. Part of the problem we face is that they were all over the place. Some were in the process of being re-vinned and resold,” Taverner said, of the practice of switching out the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to avoid detection as a stolen vehicle.
Chief Myron Demkiw said the project represents just one of the many strategic and intelligence-led initiatives the Service has undertaken to tackle rising auto thefts in the city and across the Greater Toronto Area.
“We are not only taking action to recover stolen vehicles, but are working collaboratively with our partners to disrupt the networks responsible for auto thefts which are becoming increasingly violent and high-risk,” he said.
Last week, the Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) announced the creation of a Provincial Carjacking Joint Task Force aimed at addressing the rising incidents of violence related to auto crimes.
The TPS and the OPP have collaborated with police services across the GTA to maximize enforcement efforts against criminal organizations involved in violent vehicle crimes.
There have been more than 300 carjackings in the GTA this year with over 200 occurring in Toronto.
Since its creation, 24 arrests have been made and 116 charges laid.
“Whether it be carjackings, home invasions, assaults or other forms of intimidation, the level of violence being used in the commission of these crimes represents a new and evolving threat to public safety,” said Demkiw. “This level of threat in crime is unacceptable to me as Chief.
“As a Service, we are committed to the safety and well-being of our residents above all else and we will continue to work in alignment with our law enforcement partners and other external agencies, including Criminal Intelligence Service of Ontario, to address this serious issue.”
He thanked Toronto officers for their dedication in continuing to address car thefts and violent carjackings.