Saskatchewan RCMP report 1,519 vehicle thefts in 2021 and 29% had the keys left inside

March 10, 2022
Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan

News release


RCMP crest

In 2021:

  • A total of 1,519 vehicle theft files were created by Saskatchewan RCMP (in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction) January 1 December 31, 2021.
  • This is consistently more than 100 vehicle theft reports a month.
    (Notes: "Vehicle" includes: cars, trucks, SUVs, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles and other vehicles with a motor such as tractors, skid steers, etc. A few of these files had more than one vehicle reported stolen).
  • At least 451 or about 29% of the vehicle owners reported to police they had left keys inside the vehicle.
  • 1,095 of all reports of vehicle theft resulted in the vehicle being recovered or about 72% of the total. These vehicles were recovered minutes, hours, days or even months later.

It is important to note that smaller vehicles, which could be loaded onto a trailer or into a truck (such as ATVs or motorcycles), had a lower recovery rate than cars, trucks, and SUVs.

  • 368 of the recovered vehicles were damaged in some way including being burned, stripped of parts or involved in a collision.

Some vehicles may be left running with keys inside as people warm them up and leave them to enter their home or a store for a brief moment, and return to find their vehicle gone. It is important to always take the keys with you when you leave the vehicle.

Hiding your keys inside or with the vehicle is as risky as leaving them in the ignition. With today's push button start key fobs, the thief doesn't even have to locate keys to steal your vehicle. Even if a key is needed, there are only so many hiding places in or on a vehicle and the thief is likely to find it.

Reminder: the same risks apply to commercial vehicles such as semi trailers, farm tractors and heavy equipment as they do a personal vehicle – keys left inside can lead to theft.

"Our Crime Analysts are able to sort through the data we receive when people report crimes such as these vehicle thefts and are able to track criminal activities and trends this way," says Sgt. Scott Hunter of the Saskatchewan RCMP Crime Prevention and Crime Reduction Unit. "This intelligence-based information tells us that some stolen vehicles are additionally used in the commission of other crimes including break and enters, dangerous driving and flight from police. So vehicle thefts sometimes end up being more than just vehicle thefts."

Here are a few additional tips for vehicle owners to help prevent theft:

  • Remember to remove all valuable items out of your vehicle whenever possible, including tools, bank cards, and personal identification – all of which can lead to additional criminal activity.
  • Remove garage door openers from vehicles which may allow someone access to your home.
  • Do not leave keys in the vehicle when you run out of fuel on the road. Someone else might come by with a jerry can of fuel and help themselves to your vehicle.


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