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Vehicle thefts in N.B. jumped 18% last year, according to latest StatsCan data | CBC News


New data by Statistics Canada show the rate of vehicle thefts in New Brunswick last year hit a high not before seen in the 24 years of available data.

The data released Thursday shows vehicles were stolen 2,054 times in New Brunswick in 2022, or a rate of 253 per 100,000 people, which represents an increase of 18 per cent from 2021.

“Oh, I don’t doubt that,” said Hazen Jewett, about the statistics.

Last August, the McAdam resident’s project truck was stolen out of his driveway in the early morning hours. It was only one of a handful of similar incidents last year.

“There was probably nine vehicles in McAdam alone that I know of, and maybe more, that were stolen,” said Jewett.

“It just drives everybody crazy. Like, they don’t know what to do.”

A profile photo of a man wearing a hat.
The theft of Hazen Jewett’s pickup truck last year was just one of more than 2,000 similar incidents in New Brunswick in 2022. (Submitted by Hazen Jewett)

Vehicle thefts are classified under property crimes, which have been under a microscope in New Brunswick recently, with concerns from rural residents that police aren’t doing enough to protect them and their belongings.

Last year in McAdam, an apparent act of vigilante justice prompted a meeting between residents and high-ranking provincial and RCMP officials about the quality of policing in that community. The event packed the gymnasium of a high school.

And just this month, RCMP warned residents against taking the law into their own hands after a series of incidents on Deer Island that saw a car heavily damaged and a building burned to the ground in an apparent act of vigilantism.

According to the Statistics Canada data, total property crime, which would include theft and break-ins, is slightly down by 1.3 per cent from the year before.

However, that follows a nearly 12-per-cent jump in 2021. The per capita rate of property crime that year was 3,647, the highest rate since 2005.

A table with numbers
Statistics Canada data shows the rate of vehicle theft in New Brunswick rose by 18 per cent between 2021 and last year. (Statistics Canada)

Overall, New Brunswick’s police-reported per capita crime rate was 6,420 in 2022, which represented a 1.6 per cent decrease from 2021.

The province’s crime severity index, which measures both the volume and severity of crime, dropped by 1.5 per cent, to 86.2. However, the severity index specifically for violent crimes was up eight per cent.

All consumers affected by vehicle thefts

More thefts isn’t just bad news for people whose vehicles have been stolen.

As insurance companies find themselves paying out more and more in claims, all drivers at some point will begin to bear some of those costs, said Brandon McGee, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of New Brunswick.

“In the end, it would affect every consumer, because the way insurance works is it spreads the losses amongst the few to the many,” McGee said.

A man smiles while wearing a suit.
Brandon McGee, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of New Brunswick, says his industry has noticed the increase in vehicle thefts, and worries it will lead to higher premiums for all drivers. (Submitted by Insurance Brokers Association of New Brunswick)

He said the problem has only been compounded recently by shortages in vehicle parts, making them both more expensive to replace and more attractive to thieves.

And, he said, the problem goes beyond automobiles.

“In general, we are noticing that more and more theft and crime is on the rise … We’re seeing it in personal property crime, or commercial property, not just in the auto sector. It’s everywhere.”


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