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New unit launched to fight auto theft 

The Windsor Police Service has announced the launch of a new initiative that aims to reduce auto theft in Windsor and Amherstburg.

Police announced the founding of the Windsor Police Auto Theft Unit, one that police say “will establish important new partnerships and public awareness initiatives to protect our community and prevent car theft.”

The unit will have three full-time dedicated police officers, two of which police say were a result from grant funding. Those officers will work directly with local car dealerships and other stakeholders to raise awareness of auto theft and equip the public with the knowledge to better protect themselves and their vehicles. 

The grant to support the auto theft unit is a $900,000 grant from the provincial government. Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Andrew Dowie was part of the launch of the unit last week.

Police say the funding is part of the Preventing Auto Thefts grant program, which allocated $18 million to 21 police services across Ontario. 

Windsor police also says the auto theft unit will also partner with Équité Association, a not-for-profit organization that investigates insurance crime, and additional law enforcement agencies, and other invested companies to provide enhanced training related to current and future vehicle technology.

“Auto theft remains a growing issue that impacts our community,” said Staff Sgt. Susan Garrett-Bural, who will oversee the unit. “However, many of these thefts can easily be prevented with additional precautions. Our members will work to increase awareness to help make vehicles more secure and less susceptible to being stolen.” 

In 2023, Windsor police state a total of 774 vehicle thefts and attempt vehicle thefts occurred in Windsor and Amherstburg – an increase of 7.4 per cent from the previous year.

“I’m proud to see the Windsor Police Service being recognized with one of the 21 Preventing Auto Theft grants province-wide, for their work to stop criminals in their tracks,” said Dowie. “Our government will never waver in supporting the Windsor Police as they fight auto theft through prevention, detection, analysis and enforcement.”

In order to protect a vehicle from theft, police offer several suggestions. The first tip is to lock vehicle doors, even if a person is only stepping away for a short time. Police also recommend parking in a well-lit area or garage, if possible. Key fobs should also be stored in a secure area far away from the vehicle.

Police also recommend using a steering wheel or pedal locking device.

Another tip is to invest in outdoor security cameras for a person’s home.

To report an auto theft, call 519-258-6111.

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