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INTERPOL detects 200 vehicles stolen weekly from Canada

Fri 24 May 2024    
| 2 min read

Lyon, France: More than 1,500 automobiles stolen in Canada have been found worldwide since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) effectively merged the stolen vehicle information from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) with INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicle (SMV) Database in February 2024.

An INTERPOL press release issued today mentioned that the RCMP’s CPIC database contains information on approximately 150,000 vehicles stolen in Canada. Following the integration, over 200 of these stolen vehicles have been identified weekly as law enforcement agencies across the globe verify their information, usually at national entry points.

Canada ranks among the top 10 countries for hits received via the SMV database this year, out of 137 countries connected worldwide.

INTERPOL Secretary-General Jürgen Stock said, “Stolen vehicles are international criminal currency. Not only are they used to traffic drugs, but also as payment to other criminal networks as well as fuelling activities from human trafficking to terrorism.”

He continued, “Sometimes overlooked, a stolen car is not just car theft. It is part of a major revenue stream for transnational organised crime. Through increased data sharing at the global level, we can better screen vehicles at border points, identify trafficking routes and arrest the perpetrators.”

INTERPOL’s SMV database enables police in the organization’s member countries to swiftly verify if a suspicious vehicle has been reported as stolen.

In 2023, approximately 226,000 vehicles were identified as stolen globally through the SMV database.

Joint vehicle crime project

Canada has emerged as a significant source of stolen vehicles in recent years, driven in part by its large supply of popular high-value models like SUVs and crossovers. Many of these vehicles are shipped to the Middle East and West Africa, where they are traded or resold.

On February 21, 2024, the Canadian government announced a $3.5 million (€2.4 million) funding for INTERPOL’s joint transnational vehicle crime project. This funding aims to enhance information sharing and investigative tactics to locate and recover stolen vehicles and parts worldwide.

The project involves Canada increasing cooperation and sharing information with INTERPOL. It also provides specialized training sessions on the SMV database and coordinating multi-country police operations targeting vehicle crime in known hotspots and trafficking routes.

In April 2024, RCMP officers were deployed in a ‘polycrime’ operation alongside an INTERPOL team in West Africa, leading to the recovery of 65 stolen vehicles from Canada and other countries.

In 2022, a global INTERPOL operation, codenamed Operation Carback and coordinated across 77 countries, resulted in the retrieval of hundreds of cars, trucks, and motorcycles in just two weeks.

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