Lock up your Ford: F-250 truck Alberta's most stolen vehicle, report says

Ford pickup trucks are the most stolen vehicles in Alberta, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says in its latest annual report on auto theft across the country.

'It will be gone, and will be gone in a very, very quick period of time'

Ford F-series trucks are the most often stolen vehicles in Alberta, insurers say. (Shutterstock)

Ford pickup trucks are the most stolen vehicles in Alberta, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says in its latest annual report on auto theft across the country.

"They're of real value," John Tod, national director of the Insurance Bureau of Canada's Investigative Services, said in an interview with CBC News.

"They're very attractive vehicles."

The Ford F-250 Super Duty was the most stolen vehicle in Alberta in 2017, the report said. The Ford F-Series pickup dominated the rankings with eight models topping the list. Honda Civic hatchbacks also made the top 10.

The insurance bureau, a national association that represents Canada's private auto insurers, relied on data compiled by its members across the country.

Here are the rankings for Alberta: 

  1. Ford F250 SD 4WD pickup 2006
  2. Ford F350 SD 4WD pickup 2006
  3. Ford F350 SD 4WD pickup 2007
  4. Ford F350 SD 4WD pickup 2004
  5. Ford F250 SD 4WD pickup 2005
  6. Ford F250 SD 4WD pickup 2004
  7. Ford F250 SD 4WD pickup 2003
  8. Honda Civic two-door hatchback 2000
  9. Ford F350 SD 4WD pickup 2005
  10. Honda Civic two-door hatchback 1996

While some thieves are unsophisticated, Tod said the majority of the high-end vehicle thefts are being co-ordinated by organized crime networks, which then sell the vehicles customers overseas.

"I know that those types of vehicles are in high demand elsewhere," Tod said.

"The folks that are into the business, you know, quote-unquote professionally, if there's a specific type of vehicle that they're going to want, they're going to get that vehicle."

Todd said less sophisticated thieves often steal vehicles for a joyride, to commit another crime or to raid the glove compartment for valuables or personal information.

To minimize the chances of becoming a victim, Tod offered these tips:

  • Don't leave your vehicle unattended and running.
  • Don't leave your keys or key fobs unattended.
  • Don't leave valuables visible on the seats.
  • Park in a well-lit area, ideally in a garage.

"It's only a matter of minutes, or seconds in fact ... it will be gone, and will be gone in a very, very quick period of time," he said.

The report said auto theft was up six per cent across the country last year. Alberta had the highest per-capita increase with a seven per cent jump in the number of thefts.

"I wish I could say that I was surprised," said Jeff Kasbrick, vice-president of government and stakeholder relations for the Alberta Motor Association.

"Unfortunately, Alberta has been leading the country in all the wrong ways when it comes to vehicle theft and also theft from vehicles."

Vehicle thefts in Alberta are way above the national average, accounting for 29 per cent of all such crimes across the country, according to 2016 data from Statistics Canada. There were 23,000 vehicles stolen in Alberta that year.

In Calgary, 138 vehicles were stolen each week, on average. In Edmonton, 97 were taken each week, again on average.

"We've got a significant challenge on our hands," Kasbrick said.

"There is everything from the sophisticated to the unsophisticated … It runs the gamut."