Auto thefts are up in Windsor. Police have new resources to deal with it

The Windsor Police Auto Theft Unit say it will establish new partnerships and public awareness initiatives to protect the community and prevent car theft.

New provincial money going toward expanded auto theft unit

Four Windsor police vehicles are parked in a row.
The Windsor Police Service said there has been a 7% rise in auto theft incidents. (Mike Evans/CBC)

The Windsor Police Service (WPS) is dedicating more officers to the auto theft unit, it was announced Friday. 

At a press conference, Staff Sgt. Sue Garrett-Bural confirmed that the expanded unit comes as a result of Ontario's preventing auto theft grant, where $18,000,000 has been designated across the province. 

Windsor received nearly $900,000 over the next three years.

A uniformed police officer.
Sue Garrett-Bural is staff sergeant at the Windsor Police Service. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Garrett-Bural said this support could not have come at a better time. 

"Last year we recorded 774 stolen vehicles or attempted vehicle thefts in Windsor and Amherstburg," she confirmed. "This is a 7.4 per cent increase from the year previously."

Windsor police say the top three vehicles targeted in Windsor are Ford F-150s, Dodge Rams and Lexus 350 models.

The thefts are occurring in multiple ways, according to Const. Jamie Fummerton of the auto theft unit, including through people leaving their vehicles unlocked with the keys in them.

"They're also using electronic devices now and doing relay thefts, as well as devices now where they can actually plug into certain ports in the vehicle, which gain access to the data and not only allow them to access the vehicle, but actually start it and drive away with it."

Garrett-Bural confirmed that the funding will allow for an expansion of the number of officers dedicated to auto theft — from one to four officers.

"These dedicated members will now work with various dealerships, stakeholders and raise public awareness on auto theft within Windsor and Amherstburg," she confirmed. 

This grant also supports enhanced collaboration with WPS's community partners.

"We will be working closely with Équité Association, which investigates insurance claims, and it's a nonprofit organization," Garrett-Bural said. "We will also work with other law enforcement agencies and stakeholders."

Public awareness

The new funding will also allow for equipment to be provided to individuals to protect their vehicles and personal safety, according to Garrett-Bural.

In the press conference, the staff sergeant also reiterated the need for public conscientiousness to protect their vehicles.

"It doesn't matter if you're just running into the variety store or going back into your house because you forgot something, lock your vehicle," Garrett-Bural reminded Windsorites. 

MPP Andrew Dowie addresses the press from a podium.
MPP Andrew Dowie represents Windsor-Tecumseh. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

MPP Andrew Dowie urged the public to be wary of auto theft. 

"In 2024, where we have technology, we think we'd be far more advanced, but the conveniences that we enjoy are also a pitfall for the safety and security of our people," Dowie said at the press conference.

When asked by a journalist what specifically will the expanded unit's focus be at first, Garrett-Bural said that their goals will be in educating the public around auto theft.

"[We're focusing on] education and awareness campaigns in the community in order to raise awareness," she said. "There will be better training in recognizing vehicles that are out there in addition to that it will be and the training will also help with other groups."


Oliver Thompson is a writer, producer and musician. Originally from the UK, where he worked for the BBC, Oliver moved to Canada in 2018.