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Canada became a car theft capital of the world (bbc.com)
50 points by pseudolus 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 97 comments





One thing I really don’t understand: why isn’t this trivially solvable with policing?

Just make car theft / break-ins a bad play game-theory wise: a few cars on the street are left with the police ready to pounce. You break in to a bait car, you get 2 years in jail.

Would take not that many resources, for not that long. Word would spread fast that breaking into cars is not “free” anymore.

Seems like this is what we do with every other crime: you don’t avoid speeding because you _know_ you’ll get caught, you avoid speeding because there’s a 1% chance of getting caught and being fined 1000x the benefit you derived from it.


Straight up, I'm not at all being cute, I moved to Toronto in December and so far the only cops I've ever seen are the cops that are protecting construction sites. Really. And people told me oh it's just winter we have beat cops in the summer... uhm, it's the summer now and I still don't see any beat cops. No clue what is going on here but it's extremely weird.

Torontos police budget is over 1 Billion :) look what you get for that money? They bought a couple more helicopters though!

This city is totally out of control and needs a lot of help. I don't know how it got so out of control, but nobody seems to be in control of setting a tone and tenor here. I've had worse things happen to me and seen worse things happening on the street than I ever, ever saw in SF, and that's saying something.

Don't worry, City Hall is hard at work solving the important problems: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/communi...

> I don't know how it got so out of control

Because you won’t say the reason.


> They bought a couple more helicopters though!

It was the province (OPP) that bought (will buy) the helicopters, and they will be accessible for use by all the agencies in the GTA:

* https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-police-helico...

TPS has never owned their owned helicopters, but have used York Region's.


Not sure where you're from originally, but crime rates have been historically pretty damned low here. The kind of street level routine enforcement that people might be used to in American cities hasn't typically been a thing.

Now... since COVID, hyper inflation in housing prices + opiate epidemic, this has changed. At least here in Hamilton which has always been a bit rougher, but not directly "unsafe" -- now I don't feel very safe downtown.

Though most of the crime seems either petty or internal conflicts, and not a lot of violent crime against strangers.

Car theft, yep. A bit mental.


You forgot to mention MASSIVE increase in immigration since COVID. There's no jobs and the rent is EXTREMELY high.

I had someone try to open my backpack and take my laptop out at young and dundas last week waiting for the walk light. The only reason I noticed was because it got lighter and thank god someone else notice and grabbed him. On Sunday morning I was walking down front st near union station and someone had started a bonfire with about 30 lighters and was offering up some type of substance to the folks sitting with him while some young german sounding boys took photos and discussed, 3 weeks ago I was walking down college towards Bathurst and someone came out of nowhere half naked with a GIANT FUCKING WHIP and started whipping the ground around me shouting at me. wtf is going on?

Social breakdown. No access to housing. Opiate epidemic. Hyper alienation. Mental health crisis.

This kind of crap was happening in "outlier" cities around Toronto for quite a few years before it got into Toronto proper. Downtown Hamilton, Brantford, London, etc. have been problem zones for years on account of broken down working class people with no prospects and (I'm guessing) opiate or meth addictions. COVID only made it worse.

Every public park here in Hamilton has tents all over, basically permanent.

The way to start to solve this is to give people housing.


It probably should be that simple. Unfortunately, Canada is a surprisingly broken place in many ways.

We have to remember that policing in Canada is heavily unionized, on top of being taxpayer-funded. That means quality of service is just not a concern at all most of the time. There are no repercussions for the police doing a bad job.

There is perhaps even some incentive to let there be some crime: this lets the police call for an even bigger budget the next year. In general, less-serious crimes are basically ignored in many cases, and even serious crimes don't get much attention.

The situation is complicated by the fact that many involved with auto thefts, especially in and around Toronto and other major cities, are foreigners/immigrants/"minorities". There's a tendency for activists and the media to cry "racism" or "police brutality" whenever such people are subjected to any sort of policing, no matter how reasonable and necessary this may be, and no matter how irrelevant race is to the situation. Politicians and the police end up backing off, presumably because they don't want to deal with the faux outrage that might arise if they actually did go after such criminals in any meaningful way.

Criminals with foreign citizenship also often have the ability to flee Canada, which can make arrests very difficult, if not impossible.

It can vary by region, but the criminal courts are often backlogged, too. Even if an arrest is made, and an investigation is performed, and prosecution is deemed feasible, it's not that unusual for cases involving serious crimes to be thrown out due to it simply taking too long to process them.

In the relatively rare situation where a case is actually heard and a conviction is obtained, it isn't uncommon for judges to be extraordinarily lenient when sentencing. This is especially true if so-called "indigenous" or "minorities" are involved.

On top of all of that, it doesn't help that self-defense is perhaps one of the most criminalized activities in Canada. Canadians aren't permitted to arm themselves in any meaningful way, and we aren't permitted to defend ourselves against criminals except under very limited circumstances. If you happen to see your property being damaged or stolen, for example, the only practical option is to sit back and watch the crime happen. Any sort of direct intervention, no matter how reasonable, will likely be worse for you than for the criminal(s).

There are probably other factors that I missed. Something that should be quite simple ends up being tremendously complicated.


> On top of all of that, it doesn't help that self-defense is perhaps one of the most criminalized activities in Canada. Canadians aren't permitted to arm themselves in any meaningful way, and we aren't permitted to defend ourselves against criminals except under very limited circumstances. If you happen to see your property being damaged or stolen, for example, the only practical option is to sit back and watch the crime happen. Any sort of direct intervention, no matter how reasonable, will likely be worse for you than for the criminal(s).

Are these crimes not happening in the US where self-defense is absolutely allowed? Does Florida with “stand your ground” laws for example have less or more crime than Toronto?


If the problem in Toronto gets 20% worse, then it'll be like an average US city.

Thanks for having the courage to mention the unmentionable.

Its staggering the pace of Canada's enshitification since COVID.


Seconding this, it really isn’t hyperbole.

Smile, tomorrow will be worse


> Just make car theft / break-ins a bad play game-theory wise: a few cars on the street are left with the police ready to pounce. You break in to a bait car, you get 2 years in jail.

Or they can just follow the cars that are stolen 'normally' and arrest those people:

* https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/tps-project-poacher-1...

* https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/arrests-made-in-highly-orchestrat...

* https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-project-volca...

And why don't the US or UK do what you suggest, given they similar/worse numbers per the linked article:

> While the US, Canada and the UK have all experienced a spike in car thefts since the Covid-19 pandemic, Canada’s rate of thefts (262.5 per 100,000 people) is higher than that of England and Wales (220 per 100,000 people), according to the latest available data from each country.

> It is also fairly close to that of the US, which sits at around 300 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people, based on 2022 data.


Police use bait cars in several jurisdictions already. It seems to reduce theft but not eliminate it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bait_car

Police have worked themselves into a position where they have all the authority, and no accountability.

There is no upside for them to doing their jobs, and half the population will wear police-themed flags supporting their right to act this way.


The cynical explanation here is that the cops are in on it as are railway and dock employees (not all but enough). There is just no way this could happen at the scale its happening without some inside help.

What are you going to do, buy 1000 high value bait cars to evenly distribute over probable target areas and hope they get broken into so you can catch people? That doesn't sound trivial to me or assuredly useful. It is also a decent investment for a city, with high depreciation and no guaranteed return.

This also has obvious workarounds, like targeting residential neighborhoods with cars in driveways instead of cars on the street.


1000 cars could probably be had, new, for $30M. Not much for a large city or state. San Francisco’s city budget is in excess of 14B this year: https://www.kqed.org/news/11957640/budget-deep-dive-san-fran.... Seems like a trivial investment to reduce the #1 crime people have come to associate with your city.

The guaranteed return is citizens not having their cars broken into. Better tourism, better economic opportunities (you can do a lot more business when you’re not worried about a degenerate breaking your windows).

And anyway, you probably need closer to 10 cars. You don’t need very many high profile prosecutions before the average person gets the message.


> 1000 cars could probably be had, new, for $30M.

I'd assume no one is risking stealing $30,000 cars to sell internationally.

> The guaranteed return is citizens not having their cars broken into. Better tourism, better economic opportunities (you can do a lot more business when you’re not worried about a degenerate breaking your windows).

TFA is about stealing cars, not smash and grabs.

> The guaranteed return is citizens not having their cars broken into.

How?

Stealing a car is already a high risk crime. If there is a less than .1% chance of encountering a bait car, and you are a desperate person, you probably aren't going to care much about the risk.

> high profile prosecution

If we were talking smash and grabs, there isn't going to be high profile prosecutions, and it doesn't seem like this is true [1].

[1] https://popcenter.asu.edu/content/sting-operations-page-5#:~....


> Stealing a car is already a high risk crime.

Not in SF, according to my several friends who have had cars stolen there recently. The cops don’t even care.


The police always have lots of cars that were impounded or seized from other criminals. Just use those. They don't have to be high value. Cheaper cars such as Kias are common targets.

I'll get banned for saying it, but it really seems like police (everywhere) don't really care about solving everyday crimes. They would rather use their powers in politically motivated activities, like stopping protests.

Your view on this is influenced by which bubble you operate in.

Horrible police interactions happen at the frequency approximating plane crashes, but social media has influenced people’s Bayesian priors off from reality by about 4 orders of magnitude, including in the minds of police who are now weighing risk/reward in a way that puts more of the risk on to society.


As someone who worked in LE, it couldn't be further from the truth... At least where I'm from.

People still think this way over here though. It's really impossible to do well for the majority of people.


> They would rather use their powers in politically motivated activities, like stopping protests.

Stopping a particular side's protests.

If your political views align with the police, they'll leave you alone, treat you with kid gloves, and/or assist you, even if you're out there to cause trouble. If your political views are against the police, they'll come out by the hundreds, intimidate you, embed operatives in your protest to cause trouble as a pretext to excuse force escalation, use kettling, tear gas, and other violent containment tactics, and in general act as antagonists.


Not sure about that. In Montreal, they refuse to remove the McGill encampment for example.

So an encampment at a university, a place traditionally fully of protestors, was left open. Meanwhile, an encampment in a public space was quickly shut down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v45W-KKo3tg . The purpose of a system is what it does, and this clearly shows that university students are only allowed to inconvenience their universities (who have the power to expel them) but nobody else.

If the SPVM, a police force known to be especially stuck up and power tripping here in Canada, doesn't remove them... it's because they have no grounds to do so. Also in Montreal petty crime is a lot less common than in toronto. At least in my experience

>why isn’t this trivially solvable with policing?

That would require the cops to actually care about catching criminals.


I think you're ignoring several realities:

First, cops can't be everywhere at all times. Cars are going to be stolen wherever the cops currently aren't.

Second, cops can't possibly follow up on every single car theft. When there's more unsolved crimes than officers to investigate, things have to be prioritized. When there's a LOT of car theft, the case of YOUR car being stolen is going to fall way down the list of things to follow up on. That doesn't mean they don't care, but that you're one of many victims being handled by an overwhelmed system.

Finally, if cops launch a massive crackdown on car theft and it just so happens that the majority of criminals are minorities, will activist DAs, the media, and the public accept that or launch into tirades about how police are racist?


The cars are being exported on ships. Monitor the docks. But they won't, because that's hard and someone's getting a bribe.

This is nearly identical to the massive issues with retail and car theft that we have in San Francisco.

The uber liberals will say “oh they’re just trying to feed their families” while there are endless low skilled jobs (since the pandemic) available that pay $20+ an hour.

The reality is that current policing and prosecution rules/prosecution practices make being a retail thief more convenient than getting a job. Nothing is going to change until the punishment becomes a deterrent again.


The cost of incarcerating someone for a year is about 5x the value of the car. Bring back banishment.

Are there any examples of banishment working with so many people? In the past when you lived in a village where everybody knows everybody else it seems like it could work. With modern large cities you could just move to another part of the same city and never see the same people again.

Canada has very lax crime punishment, which is sad for the victims. There's been cases where people have killed others after 3-x crimes and released with future court dates.

> Just make car theft / break-ins a bad play game-theory wise: a few cars on the street are left with the police ready to pounce. You break in to a bait car, you get 2 years in jail.

I think car theft situation is not bad enough for this to work.

There are ~9 million registered cars in Ontario [0]. Population of Toronto is about 20% of the population of Ontario [1][2], so we should expect there to be about 1.8 million cars in Toronto. Last year, there were 12,000 car thefts in Toronto [3], which is way worse than the national average.

It doesn't make sense for the police to use bait cars, because given the above statistics, they can expect to catch 6 or 7 people per year if they deploy 1000 bait cars and have officers around each one year-round ready to pounce. That would be a very expensive way to catch only 6 criminals. The cost per conviction would be astronomical.

It wouldn't change the criminals' behaviour either because if the police deploy 1000 bait vehicles in a city with 1.8 million vehicles, the chances of the one car the criminal is stealing being a bait would be just 0.05%. The chances of getting caught for other reasons would sure overshadow this slight increase, so I don't expect it to have much effect on overall risk and thus behaviour.

There are some simplifying assumptions I made to do the above calculations, for example that the odds of theft are the same across neighbourhoods and parking situations. That means the results are not very accurate. However, they should be within an order of magnitude. We cannot expect to change the theft situation with a small number of cars and a reasonable budget. Now, if we could deploy 100,000 bait vehicles in Toronto alone, that would be a different story. But at that point, we would be way past the point where this could be called a trivial solution.

[0] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/71-607-x/71-607-x2022023...

[1] https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/data-research-maps/to...

[2] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=171000...

[3] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/car-thefts-2023-toron...

Please let me know if I made a mistake in the math.


In many jurisdictions it’s illegal for the state to setup a “trap” to imprison people, like a decoy car to be stolen. This voids the validity of the proof in trial. Isn’t that the case in Canada?

I thought entrapment had an element of the state convincing you to commit a crime. My understanding is if the state just leaves an Acura somewhere, and you break into it, it’s fair game.

Entrapment is when the state induces someone to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. For something to be entrapment, the state must overcome some level of resistance, not just provide an opportunity for a crime.

For example, leaving a car out and watching it get stolen is not entrapment. Buying drugs and then arresting the seller is not entrapment.

The police in Canada have a tactic, called "Mr. Big", where they introduce a suspect to an undercover agent posing as a criminal, usually posing as a high-level organized crime member, and then getting the trust of the suspect. This has resulted in entrapment. For example, in R. v. Mack, a police used a "Mr. Big" style system to try and get Mack to sell drugs. It wasn't until the police threatened him that he agreed, after which they arrested him. His conviction was later thrown out because it was ruled this was entrapment.


I don't think bait cars would constitute entrapment unless the police were directly telling the thief to go steal a car.

Bait cars are not entrapment. In many jurisdictions in the west there is a sentiment against prosecuting criminals or even preventing crime, that’s the real issue.

First off your idea is entrapment and generally not tolerated in a free society. Secondly your idea would make sense if you were trying to actually catch criminals.

like many other large western cities, policing has become a political issue and are no longer allowed to police. They catch criminals and then release them to the streets hours later without charge.

Policing has become political in Left leaning cities.


That isn’t entrapment.

Entrapment has to include an element of coercion to commit a crime that otherwise would not have been committed.

Stealing a car that happens to belong to, and is monitored by the police is no one’s idea of entrapment. Bait stings are pretty well tolerated in modern society, since you have to steal a car to be stung.


Re entrapment, see discussion on https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40916066 - I’m reasonably sure this can be done in a way that isn’t entrapment.

(Though whether the 9th circuit redefines it would be a different question)


This is Canada. The 9th circuit is irrelevant up here

You are right about it being trivial to solve but what you may be unaware of is solving this problem is exactly not what Canada, California, Maryland, etc states want to solve. Arrests would imply oppression. The idea is the only reason people are stealing cars is because the price of new cars of gone up and all car thieves are just Aladdin trying to feed their families. Even the notion of ownership is questioned in these municipalities.

Also, the proponents of these positions will disagree, incorrectly, with you that threat of punishment has any effect on crime. Even the so-called prosecutors seek to not prosecute criminals or even seek “non-carceral forms of punishment” even for crimes like murder.


arguably this govt tolerates the crime because it's against people who normally vote against them, mainly small business owners and upper middle class people who own trucks and luxury cars, and the profits of the crime benefit the diaspora networks who donate to candidates who secure parliamentary seats for the party.

I live near brampton (in the article) where much of the car theft problem originates, and we are physically overrun by large groups of newcomers standing around on the roads at all hours because there are so many people and nowhere for them to go. it also creates a huge grey/black market underclass as the economy fails to absorb people in sufficient numbers. the basic problem is the govt wants to demolish the old society and has orchestrated a de-facto invasion to secure power for its party, secure seats with the black market money donations, with the convenient side effect of unleashing tolerated crime against its opponents. these are ancient tactics, just not ones we're used to in the west. tech like trackers, cameras, patrol drones, and even domestic sigint are temporary bargaining solutions to what is a policy disaster that could end with the stroke of a pen.


> the basic problem is the govt wants to demolish the old society and has orchestrated a de-facto invasion to secure power for its party, secure seats with the black market money donations, with the convenient side effect of unleashing tolerated crime against its opponents

I love how competent you think Trudeau is, but isn’t the simplest answer that he is totally unqualified for his role, as is his deputy PM, and they did not think through the consequences of letting so many people into the country with no planning to accommodate them? Even if you are right about this disproportionately affecting voters for their opponents (highly doubtful given how liberal the GTA and GVA are, both hotbeds of car theft), they turned off many liberal voters (myself included) by making no provisions for sufficient public medical infrastructure - a cornerstone of Canadian liberal identity - or housing.

I think the sad thing is that rather than electing policy wonks like Ignatieff or Carney who can see consequences of actions, we elected a school teacher because of his last name and appearance, and now we get the consequences of that.


the car theft at the scale it is at requires cooperation of the port authorities, shockingly those in Quebec who can traditionally be relied upon to undermine the rest of the country. if you have looked at the path of any strong men of history, whether it's politics, crime, or militarily, fundamentally they are deal makers between coalitions. the epidemic car theft is being managed to the benefit of the parties who tolerate it. it's a way for crime gangs to funnel blackmarket dollars back to local candidates that secure seats for national party organizations. naming politicians instead of discussing incentives and tactics and offices is low-information and reduces the quality of discourse imo.

Ironically, while the mayor of brampton acts mystified, if you check his background at all, he used the same techniques and networks of foreign influenced diaspora organizing to win the provincial party leadership before being exited using equally dodgy tactics when the party realized they had been taken.

India's PM remains the kingmaker in Canada and anyone who wants seats here has to go there and kiss the ring (as that mayor did), or dance for him, as ours famously did. India's hold has been consolidated by the minority government deal jamming the door open to increase India's influence. the ottawa establishment doesn't care because they are so profoundly racist that they think they can manage the chaos they're importing and somehow prevail on it with their spunky quirkiness and enlightened policy.

your opinion of the PM doesn't matter. these dynamics have shifted, and the only way the car theft issue gets better is with some very difficult times ahead. A friend has had three attempts to steal his truck from his house this year, and now he sleeps with a rifle by his bed, in Canada. if you live in a big city, you have no clue what's going on.


You do realize that policing, housing and medical infrastructure are all provincial responsibilities? Blame Doug Ford for those, not Trudeau.

They are provincial responsibilities, but the group allowing in 3-5x the number of people should have ensured the groups responsible for handling those people are doing what needs to be done to accommodate them, no? And if they aren’t, then they shouldn’t open the floodgates anyways, right?

It's not 3-5X, not even close. It's under 2X. Net migration was negative during COVID.

StatsCan shows we went from 1.3m non-permanent residents as of Q2 2021 to 2.8m as of Q2 2024. Maybe you’re right about the rate, but however you look at it, more than doubling the population of immigrants in 3 years demands some leadership in coordinating downstream impacts rather than just opening the floodgates and hoping for the best.

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=171001...


If it's Trudeau's fault why is BC doing relatively OK on car theft, housing costs, and doctor availability while Ontario is doing poorly on all 3?

I live in BC and have been on the Island and the Mountains for the last five years. If you think housing costs or doctor availability are ok here, I strongly suggest coming to see. I also lived briefly in Nova Scotia and suggest the same thing applies there within the context of their economy (house prices are lower absolutely but massively higher relative to what they were a few years ago). There isn’t a city in this country - no city, town, or single intersection hamlet - where house prices are cheap relative to local incomes and some newcomer can get a family doc without waiting multiple years in a list or having some special connection outside the official routes.

This is all due to Trudeau’s idiotic immigration policy, which is idiotic only due to the fact that they didn’t even try to coordinate a proper plan. I support immigration and believe our nation needs it for future economic viability due to declining local birth rates, but it has to be prepared for, both for those that live here and the poor suckers who come thinking it will be a land of opportunity only to find they will never have a doctor or a house or a reasonable standard of living thanks to Trudeau and his idiot lapdog.

Also, I’ll state it again: I am a lifelong liberal who has only voted left (Liberal or even NDP), and I highly doubt after Trudeau I will ever vote Liberal again.


BC's housing costs and doctor availability are bad yes, but they were also bad 10 years ago. But they have improved significantly compared to Ontario. Vancouver used to be ~2X as expensive as Toronto, now they are comparable. Doctor availability used to be worse in BC than it is in Ontario, now it is better. Not so much because BC has gotten better but because Ontario has gotten far worse.

One thing the article totally skips: WHO is stealing the cars? Organized groups? A bunch of individuals then reselling to organized smugglers? That seems to be at the root of the issue. Also, what made this become and issue now and not before?

In Canada the towing truck companies stealing cars are all part of the Mafia or gangs. It got so bad that sometime recently the government only certified a few tow truck companies. When you get into an accident you can't call a tow truck company. The police will call the reputable tow truck for you.

This happened to my next door neighbor. I saw them loading up his car at night, my dad went outside and yelled at them. They soon drove off.


It is pure genius though, people are conditioned to ignore a tow truck taking a car away, assuming it’s somehow legit in all cases. It is ridiculously easy to steal a car with a tow truck.

Canada is the new California.

These poor people stealing cars need money because they are out of work. We can't throw them in jail for being jobless and "unhoused"


These are usually powerful and organized criminal gangs. They are not small time, put-food-on-table-because-it’s-the-only-way.

If you interact with criminals, they are not the ‘noble poor,’ they are predatory and see their victims as deserving. And often they hurt the other low income people around them.


The guy you are replying to is being sarcastic.

> see their victims as deserving

There are psych experiments that show this is a prerequisite for crime.


I can't tell if you are implying we should throw them in jail for being out of work and homeless or saying they believe all thieves are unemployed.

Almost never happens in Montreal, compared to Toronto. I mean it's more common than it used to be but not very common. So it really sounds like a Toronto issue.

… but we can throw them in jail for stealing cars.

For perspective on Canadian policing re cars and theft:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/stolen-licence-plate-...

>> I was quite flabbergasted that the police weren't at all concerned," Novak said.

>> Halton police say they've since seized the stolen plate from an unoccupied vehicle.

So the cops tracked down the stolen plates and removed them. No arrest of the people using the plates fraudulently. No seizure of the vehicle. The cops just unscrewed the stolen plates and walked away. They really don't care about vehicle-related property crime.


Also it should be noted that Halton region police are the highest paid police force in the entire nation. If they don’t have any incentive to do it...

I've been in Toronto for a decade and the only enforcements I've seen are transit related.

People do whatever they want here.

I lived in South America in the 1990s, but every now and then Toronto manages to shock me in worse ways.


How are cars usually stolen? Are they driven away using the car's power or hauled away using a tow truck?

They use devices to gain access and start the vehicle, drive it a few blocks away and leave it for another group to come pick it up and take it to a shipping container to be transported to the Port of Montreal to be shipped overseas. The original group goes and grabs another vehicle, etc etc. They’ve got groups on the lookout in the neighbourhood for police. It is highly organized and involves many people.

And a tow truck towing a car out of an otherwise empty parking lot at night would not raise any suspicion whatsoever.



Canada is… a country, right? Not a city. Nitpicking here, but that doesn’t feel like a BBC headline.

Just had my car stolen in Canada. A real headache since I'm not a Canadian. The hotel's parking garage had many other cars broken into that night and my van must have been a convenient stuff-hauler.

> “Everyone is talking about trying to recover vehicles, and a lot of my focus has been on why we are not making the vehicles tougher to steal in the first place,” he said.

This is a surprising statement. My recollection is that car manufacturers have made cars far, far harder to steal than they used to be. Possibly it's just an insecure whataboutism, but I don't think car recovery is first on the list for most people in terms of car crime.


Oddly enough, a lot of the anti-theft features that we take for granted in Europe - like ignition breakers - aren't built into US cars by default. I guess sometimes laws really help to nudge companies to do the right thing. Especially if doing the right thing costs a few additional $$$s.

> car manufacturers have made cars far, far harder to steal than they used to be.

Literally, just watched a video of a bunch of kids breaking into a Kia and driving off with it with nothing more than a screwdriver and USB key. And the USB key wasn't being used how you think. It could have been a chunk of wood. But in this day and age a USB key is easier to find.


The kias are a unique case to be fair. Back in the day pretty much all cars were like them.

I mean, a bunch of kids can break into my home 'with nothing more than a screwdriver' not even USB needed. That doesn't mean it should be tolerated - they must go to jail.

Step ladder and rock or three get you in very many places. Does not mean we shouldn't punish anyone who did it extremely harshly.

Flipper zero is able to record and replay rolling codes. It turns out many car manufacturers handled the error condition of a key press being out of range so it will roll back the counter after a certain number of failures. The solution is to move to a signed challenge model.

"Show me the incentive, and I'll show you the outcome" - Charlie Munger. Car companies don't need to care, if your car gets stolen the insurance company buys you a new one. You do lose some customers who won't buy your car if it's in the top ten most stolen list.

We could implement a law that fines car companies who are in the top ten list, and pays out to the car companies who are at the bottom.


There is no requirement for insurance companies to write policies or to sell them at reasonable rates. Try selling an uninsurable car, it’s really hard.

Or you require dealers to make a disclosure at the time of sale to the effect that the car does not meet modern security standards.

Incentives work both ways. Most new cars have the computer hardware to solve this problem with a firmware update.


Uninsurable cars sell pretty well from what I heard from UK... Where they had large number of issues with Land Rovers. People only notice they can't insure something after they buy it...

And as a result, Range Rover has now increased security on new vehicles, have invested 8 figure sums in retrofitting older vehicles and have now started to offer their own insurance product -almost certainly at a loss- for owners that can't find separate insurance, according to this article (https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-13024481/Ra...).

Sounds like the cars were made nearly uninsurable, and the manufacturer pulled it back from the brink, perfectly illustrating my point.


Fine car companies? Isn’t that just madness? Do we really need to think there criminals have superior rights over law-abiding citizens? What do we get at the end of leftist madness? I don’t know if it’s something those that are espousing such positions will actually want.

You're missing the point. This has nothing to do with politics. I'm demonstrating how economic incentives could be used to change the outcome.

And car companies DO get fined. Kia was fined (lawsuit) $200MM in USA for not using modern standard anti-theft tech in order to save money.

Insurance companies DO give you a discount if you use the chubb or install other anti theft devices.

Economic incentives work!


Airtag shows car in transit. Police: 'sorry we can't locate it' or 'we can't enter the port of Montreal'

Some companies have had a major relapse. See Kia/Hyundai.

Only in the US, due to lax regulations.

(and greed on behalf of the manufacturer)


Yeah, I've heard of that. It still sounds like a local minimum, though.



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