Never mind the model, mind your keys: MPI tracking factors in car theft

Each year, the Insurance Bureau of Canada issues a top ten list of the most frequently stolen make and model of vehicle by province.

However, those numbers are not available for Manitoba, where they are instead drawing attention to the key factor in vehicle theft.

In the overwhelming majority of vehicles thefts in the province last year, thieves had access to the keys and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is reminding drivers to be alert.

MPI said while it is still common practice in other Canadian provinces, they no longer track the most frequently stolen vehicles.

Spokesperson Brian Smiley said it’s because times are changing in Manitoba.

“We’re not focused on the models that are being stolen,” Smiley said. “We’re just focused on the overall pattern of theft.”

Thieves, he said, are targeting keys.

In 2017, 89 per cent of the 2,552 auto thefts in Manitoba involved keys. Smiley expects 2018 data to be similar.

Unattended idling cars is an easy way for thieves to steal vehicles, but that is not the only way.

“In some situations the auto thieves will steal the keys our of your jacket, or out of your sweater, or out of a woman’s purse,” Smiley said.

“They’re looking, thieves are watching.”

The key message, according to MPI, is to protect your keys.

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