Auto Theft: Winnipeg

Too much joyriding in the ‘Peg


The problem: Winnipeg isn’t just the Canadian capital of car theft; it holds the North American title as well. In 2006, the Manitoba capital recorded 2,115 incidents per 100,000 people, a whopping 343 per cent above the national average. By 2007, it was down about 11 per cent to 1,878 incidents per 100,000 people, but the figure was still high enough for the ‘Peg to keep the top spot.

What’s being done to deal with it: According to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) spokesperson Brian Smiley, joyriders are overwhelmingly responsible for Winnipeg’s auto-theft problem. Smiley estimates that, for every ten car thefts in Winnipeg, eight or nine can be attributed to joyriding. “It’s theft of opportunity, as opposed to commercial auto theft,” Smiley says. To combat the problem, MPI, along with the provincial justice department and the Winnipeg police, set up the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy. The most visible component of the strategy involved outfitting the most commonly stolen vehicles with immobilizers. Local officials coupled this with an intensive supervision program for high-risk offenders that have been released back into the community and an outreach program for troubled youth. Rick Linden, the chair of Winnipeg’s auto theft task force, attributes Winnipeg success in fighting auto theft—he estimates the number of thefts is down from a peak of 40 cars per day in 2004 to about six per day in the last three months of 2008—to having crafted a specialized approach to the problem, one based on information gathered from interviews with car thieves and patterns in crime statistics. “In the area of crime prevention,” Linden says, “planning up front and figuring out what the problem is before you try and solve it is really critical.”

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Auto Theft: Winnipeg

  1. Pet peeve:

    Can anyone explain to me why auto manufacturers have persisted for almost a century with useless door and ignition locks that any kid can break through? Followed by decades of pointless car alarms which do nothing but go off when they aren’t supposed to and annoy neighbours?

    Immobilizers could have been standard equipment, and instead of retrofitting thousands of cars in Manitoba real security insalled by teh manufacturers would have eliminated the problem in the first place?

    • It is not hard to break a lock or go through a door…

      And I hate to be the one that breaks it to you guys but the immobilizers are useless… they can steal your car anyhow… don’t ask how I know just trust me on this…

  2. I’ll never understand how people go about living in Winnipeg.

      • Winnipeg is a great city, growing and vibrant with a great cultural scene. Our economy is also still huming, a little slower but not like a lot of other Canadian cities. By the way, those auto theft stats are a couple of years old. And our weather comes from Edmonton, via Regina and Saskatoon, so only ignorant people would be unaware of that. Same weather, 24 hours later. Watch a weather channel.

        • To spot the TRUE Winnipeger, they are the person who knows their city is bunk but live there anyways. Most of the people who talk up Wpg don’t spend a lot of time north of Portage, know which streets to avoid after dark and enjoy the Free Press.

          I’ve always thought Winnipeg was disconnected from itself, it doesn’t operate as a cohesive whole which has inhibited it from operating in order to tackle big city problems, like car theft. In Winnipeg, people are either stuck with that small town mentality or trying to convince themselves that Wpg is just like Toronto. The city has problems, and auto-theft is just a symptom.

          Plus, it’s cold as eff.

  3. First off, that comment about how people can live in Winnipeg is just ignorant. Winnipeg, while amazingly cold, is a fabulous city with a lot going for it (cultural communities, great outdoors life, proximity to the Whiteshell- one of the most beatiful places in Canada and a great summer). It’s a family city. This is all coming from someone who’s not from there originally, but found a great community of friends while studying there.

    In terms of the subject of the article, I actually must commend MPI for the work they’re doing. One fact that the article didn’t highlight is that the immobilizer program is free and mandatory. I know this because when I get back to Winnipeg I won’t be able to register my car without having an immobilizer installed.

    Also, I should note that I parked my car downtown on Spence street (right by the University of Winnipeg) for about 5 years and never had one incident. Take that for what it’s worth.

    • if the immobilizer is sooo “free” why did i just have to take time off work and pay 80 bucks to have it put in??

  4. I know that a lot of cities in the US and some in Canada have given away free club steering wheel locks to help protect cars too. I don’t know why Winnipeg doesn’t do this as well. So if you have someone with a 1999 Oldsmobile why not give them a chance to get something free like a club to help protect THEIR car instead of just the cars the insurance companies say are targets for high theft.

  5. looking at these news:

    The problem: Winnipeg isn’t just the Canadian capital of car theft; it holds the North American title as well. In 2006, the Manitoba capital recorded 2,115 incidents per 100,000 people, a whopping 343 per cent above the national average. By 2007, it was down about 11 per cent to 1,878 incidents per 100,000 people, but the figure was still high enough for the ‘Peg to keep the top spot.

    and that other one I got this week:

    TORONTO – Saskatoon is the most dangerous city in Canada and Caledon, Ont., is the safest, according to the latest survey by Maclean’s magazine.

    This is the second year the magazine has put out the lists and the second year in a row Caledon, northwest of Toronto, has topped the safest areas list.

    Saskatoon is followed on the most dangerous list by Winnipeg, Regina, Prince George, B.C., and Edmonton.

    Caledon is followed by Oromocto, N.B., Levis, Que., Maskoutains MRC, Que., which includes Saint-Hyacinthe, and Halton Region west of Toronto.

    As for Canada’s two largest cities, Toronto ranked 29th out of 100 cities, compared to 26th last year, and Montreal ranked 24th compared to 19th on the high crime list.

    Maclean’s says it based its rankings on 2007 per-capita crime rates, the most recent available from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.


    What means that, really?

    It means that If I where living in that city Caledon, northwest of Toronto, I should think about to do not lock my house door, my car’s door at all???? Why even thinking about keys…

    Should I forget just one night per week to close my house’s door in Winnipeg and never thinking about to close in Caledon?

    Instead to walk in the streets in Winnipeg, at night, on summer time around 1:00 am…and not being afraid of it…. (Not on the Main Street….aboriginal site, I know…) but at Caledon I can walk at the street, completely nude at 4:00 am, by myself? (Well, not that I would like to do that, just an example…) What will happen is that the girl would not be rape but instead the police would take her for a psychiatry hospital for that night…)

    Do you know that in Brazil they advice you to do not use skirts at street, not show you skin very much otherwise if you get raped could be your fault! Because you‘re the one who attracted these bad guys….Serious>?? yeahhh… I read some reports, not just one but many of police and judges saying that for the women who was raped. That happens in Rio, Sao Paulo and Bahia….

    I think it’s because we came from a huge city like SP, Brazil, where you don’t know if you can pick up cash at the bank at noon or 4:00 pm, or even walking around being afraid to be kidnapping …As a Brazilian we Lock everything at any minute and check my times to see if we really locked…almost a schizophrenic reaction and we will be sure we get alarms + insurances, life insurance …..

    And the best would be going anywhere with a bullet proof car….if you‘re rich and you can afford that, but you should wish not being so millionaire that the bad guys would use a rocket lancer from the Paraguay’s army to take you from the Car, and kidnapping you for months, years …and also this creativity has been used for bank robbery too …. Even In small towns…. With less than 100.000 habitants.

    Well, in the end of the day…..if you have an AAA alarms company, you know you can come to Winnipeg and forget about Caledon!!!! Alarm‘s security? Any body knows there what is alarm for?

    My dear Canadian friends (who born here, not us immigrants that came all around the world with these kind of reality) …

    you really have no idea what is being in a very criminal city. Good for you, good for us…bad for our family and our lovely friends that live that reality every day and are so used to it that they think is quite normal, life’s like that….

    Brazil without violence, criminality and corruption would be a country that everybody… would enjoy living there!

    Believes me!


    Priscilla Hatae

    Brazil …..with all the beauty we have there …go search at net for pictures from “Chapada dos Veadeiros, Chapada diamantina, Angra dos Reis, Natal, Fernando de Noronha, Amazonia ” imagine this country without violence ?? it’s Paradise!

    …..I agree that there are many amazing parts of Brazil and being a Brazilian …People are sweet , happy somehow and always keep trying…..

    But, sorry…I’m here living In the 2.o most violent city of Canada!!

  6. car thefts and burglary has gotten worst today. police should act fast on these cases.

  7. “In the area of crime prevention,” “planning up front and figuring out what the problem is before you try and solve it is really critical.” – I totally agree with this. This should be learned by every police officer.

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