The Calgary Police Service is asking drivers to take steps to prevent their car from being stolen as auto vehicle theft numbers have climbed dramatically in recent years. 

Nearly 7,000 vehicles were either stolen or attempted to be stolen in 2018 and CPS officials say that number is the highest in the country. 

"2017 and 2018 featured high number of stolen vehicles and a small improvement in 2019 but not enough for us to necessarily stop doing what we are doing” said Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley.

Officers believe it's a multi-faceted issue. "It’s really related to so many other crimes whether it be break-and-enters, robberies or the drug trade” said Smiley. "We really see everything from a very intellectual approach, planned approach, for example stealing vehicles from a dealership, all the way to a crime of opportunity."

Police are trying to get residents and drivers to break habits that make it easier for criminals to steal vehicles.     

"In the winter months, the habit that we are trying to impact is vehicles left running," explained Smiley. "In the summer months, we’ve partnered with our investigators that investigate break-and-enters around the 9 p.m. routines."

The 9 p.m. routine is a checklist for homeowners to ensure their personal belongings, homes and vehicles are locked and secured before heading to bed for the evening. 

According to police statistics, 6,892 vehicles were either stolen or unsuccessfully targeted by thieves in 2017.

In 2018 that number rose to 6,918, an increase of 36.5 per cent over the five year average of 2013 through 2017. 

The latest statistics say 3,143 vehicles had been stolen or attempted to be stolen in the first half of this year. 

Police suggest that criminals are not targeting a specific make or model of vehicle. "There are criminals that will target trucks for example because they’re going to use that truck to commit a certain kind of offence, but no, there’s not really (anything) specific to one kind, make or manufacturer," added Smiley. 

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the ten most commonly stolen vehicles in Alberta in 2018 were:

  1. 2006 Ford F250 SD 4WD
  2. 2006 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  3. 2007 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  4. 2004 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  5. 2005 Ford F250 SD 4WD
  6. 2004 Ford F250 SD 4WD
  7. 2003 Ford F250 SD 4WD
  8. 2000 Honda Civic 2DR Hatchback
  9. 2005 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  10. 1996 Honda Civic 2DR Hatchback