Vehicle thefts in Ottawa double in 2022 compared to 2021

Ottawa police say they have seen a “sharp rise” in carjackings in the city so far this year, with the number doubling compared to last year.

The thieves are apparently targeting newer Honda CR-V models, according to a press release.

“More than 230 vehicle thefts have been reported so far this year compared to half that number for the same period in 2021. In the last two weeks alone, a total of 21 Honda CR-Vs were reported stolen. ”, the police said.

While the Honda vehicle appears to be a popular target, police added that other vehicles were also reported stolen. The common thread is the proximity key system that vehicles have.

“Newer model Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlanders, Lexus RX and Ford F-Series pickups (upper trim level) have been targeted by thieves in Ottawa since the beginning of the year,” police said.

Vehicles have reportedly been stolen from homes and dealerships alike.

“We have noticed a change in trends regarding vehicle thefts as we are now seeing a sudden increase in CRV thefts at owner driveways and more vehicles being stolen from car dealerships outside of their hours. attention,” said Det. Doug Belanger in a statement.

Police say the robberies work in one of two ways:

1. The driver’s side door is mechanically broken, at which point thieves access the vehicle’s engine control module (ECM) port to reprogram a new key. This remains the most common type of vehicle theft and is not deterred by the use of a radio frequency shield (known as a ‘Faraday bag/box’).

2. Signal Amplification Retransmission Attack (SARA) is not a common technique in Ottawa; however, the police continue to raise public awareness of this medium where burglars use an amplification device to amplify the signal emanating from the key fob inside the home. That signal is then transmitted to the car, which unlocks the vehicle and allows it to start. This type of theft will be deterred by the use of a radio frequency shield (the Faraday bag/box).


Ottawa Police say the following tips can help protect your vehicle from thieves:

  • Park inside a garage if available (in Ottawa, no vehicle was stolen inside a garage);
  • Lock your vehicle tight against a second less wanted vehicle;
  • Use a steering wheel lock (ie “Club”) to deter thieves (note that they can cut the steering wheel to remove it);
  • Install an engine control module (ECM) port block;
  • Install an aftermarket vehicle immobilizer and alarm;
  • Install aftermarket tracking devices or “GPS”: many of these have the ability to “fence your car” by notifying the owner’s smartphone if the vehicle leaves the set perimeter;
  • Install motion detection lights and outdoor surveillance cameras at home; this can act as a deterrent;
  • Be aware that thieves have come back to steal the replacement vehicle when a vehicle had been stolen, so stay vigilant;
  • Neighborhood watch remains the best defense, so report any suspicious activity immediately to the police at 613-236-1222.

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