LONDON,Ont. — Leave your car unattended for very long the next time you’re driving in this city, and you could find it gone.
According to a new Statistics Canada report, the auto theft rate in London has doubled in the last decade, and the city has the third-highest rate among Canadian cities with a population between 100,000 and 500,000 people. London is behind Regina and Sherbrooke, Que., in auto theft rates. London’s rate is worse than Calgary and Ottawa.
There were 2,713 auto thefts in London in 2001 – that’s 707 per 100,000 residents. Police say most of the thefts are “joy rides” that cause an average $8,000 damage to vehicles.
The numbers for 2002 aren’t in yet, but city police are predicting the car theft rate may drop marginally again. It dropped 9 per cent from 2000 to 2001.
London Police say they’re not surprised by the findings of the Statscan report, but they don’t know why car theft rates are so high in the city. “In London, we’ve had a constant problem with car thefts,” says Const. Paul Martin.
Six vehicles were stolen last Monday alone, he told local media.
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