Responding to Carjackings
Toronto Police are responding to the recent spike in carjackings with more investigative resources and crime prevention.
The Hold Up unit has investigated 60 carjacking occurrences so far this year, one more than for all of 2021.
So far, 20 arrests have been made, the latest after a victim in their late 70s had their Jeep Wrangler stolen on May 11.
In another incident on May 16 at around 8 p.m., three men held a victim at gunpoint and stole his vehicle in the area of Islington Ave. and the Gardiner Expressway.
At a news conference outside police headquarters on May 17, Inspector Richard Harris said investigators are reviewing evidence and working to establish links.
“I want to assure the public that uniformed and plainclothes officers patrol hotspot areas citywide and continue to make arrests in these types of investigations,” he said. “Our unit also works with our Divisions who pay special attention to these areas and are a vital resource in our investigations.”
Harris said there is some sophistication among the groups involved in the carjackings and car thefts.
“We will get to the bottom of it,” he said. “We have had vehicles stolen here making it all the way to the United Arab Emirates.”
The Service has created an Organized Crime Investigative Support Team that will provide a targeted response to emerging crime trends, including the increase in auto thefts.
Nearly $2.3 million has been reallocated from the Toronto Police Service budget to fund the team that will include investigative roles of different ranks and civilian support roles.
The roles have been deployed from other areas of the Service.
“I understand these types of crimes can have a lasting impact on victims, whether they are physically injured or not and we will continue to identify suspects, charge them and return vehicles to their owners,” Harris said.
He offered some safety tips that can help protect the public during crimes of opportunity.
“If someone attempts to steal your vehicle, please give it up,” Harris said. “Do not argue or fight. Your safety is worth more than a car. Run to a safe space and call police immediately. Keep doors locked at all times and if you feel threatened, sound your car alarm or call 9-1-1. Be aware of your surroundings, try to park in lit areas and keep valuables out of sight.”