I received a press release from the Insurance Bureau of Canada last week that started off with the headline, “Auto thieves in western Canada love their Ford trucks”. According to the IBC’s statistics, the dirt bags that steal vehicles in this part of the country prefer to steal early-to-mid 2000s Ford Super Duty pickups. Remarkably, all the vehicles on the IBC’s top 10 list of stolen vehicle models are either Ford F250s or F350s.
“For the second consecutive year, auto theft across Canada has ticked higher,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC, in the press release. “After large declines in auto theft activity over the last decade, the number of stolen vehicles has gone up 6 percent nationally compared to last year. In Alberta, we have seen the largest increase in all of Canada with auto thefts up a whopping 32 percent. Unfortunately, many of the vehicles stolen in this region will never be recovered.”
“We also see from this list that criminals continue to favour large, older, high-end Ford F-Series vehicles,” he added.
I actually own a 2008 Super Duty, but it seems from that description mine will be fairly safe. It’s not a high-end model. In fact it was originally a police truck, so it is a long way from a King Ranch version. It has rubber floor mats and the centre console is still missing, after having been originally taken out to make room for radio equipment. And I haven’t even gotten around to replacing the handles and pull locks for the inside of the rear doors yet. I think you can imagine why those were originally taken out.
I’m sure my truck’s original owners would have been more than happy to use it to give any auto thieves at least a ride in a Super Duty. Albeit, only a one-way trip.
Of course, none of those IBC theft statistics are the fault of Ford or any other auto maker. Vehicles from all companies are susceptible to theft and are similarly difficult to steal.
Actually, it’s probably not too surprising that Ford trucks are the most popular type of vehicles stolen. Ford has been the market segment leader in North America for a long time, and trucks in general are becoming the most common vehicle sold in the West. So, naturally, there are a lot of them out there to steal, most of them Fords.
But what happens to trucks that get stolen if, as IBC reports, most don’t get recovered. Many will get “chopped” and end up donating their parts back through often legitimate channels. It’s usually impossible to trace the source of individual auto parts. And with so many of these trucks on the road, I would expect the demand for used parts would be a strong one.
Occasionally though, innocent buyers can unknowingly get stuck with something that has been stolen and is traceable. That applies not just to Fords, but all types of property including farm equipment. However, there is something anyone can do to reduce the risk of unknowingly buying stolen property. Just go to the Canadian Police Information Centre’s website, http://app.cpic-cipc.ca/English/search.cfm, and it’s possible to check if serial numbers on a variety of items have been reported stolen to police. And it’s free to use.
It accesses the same database police officers use when they do computer checks to determine whether or not something is stolen.
Keeping a link to this website on your smartphone would allow you to stand beside a vehicle, farm machine, or whatever right in the seller’s yard and satisfy yourself it hasn’t been reported stolen to police. It’s an easy and worthwhile check that could save you a lot of grief.
That said, finding out a serial number isn’t on file on that website is no guarantee an item still hasn’t been stolen. Perhaps the owner didn’t know the serial number or it hasn’t yet been reported, but it’s a really good indicator for a potential buyer. It’s certainly worth keeping in mind.
And if like me you own a Super Duty, remember thieves are lusting after it, so do your best to keep it safe and secure.