Published May 1, 2024

SSP, Barrie Police partner to combat auto theft

South Simcoe Police and Barrie Police have put it into gear with the launch of a collaborative partnership to combat auto theft in their communities.

The partnership came together thanks to $1.8 million from the Ontario government, part of an $18 million grant over three years announced last November for 21 projects across the province to combat the growing problem of auto theft.

Details of the partnership were announced Wednesday at Barrie Police Headquarters.

The explosion of auto thefts across the region, particularly high-end vehicles, is not being doing by run-of-the-mill criminals looking for a joyride.

"Absolutely not," said Barrie Police Chief Rich Johnston. "We're talking about organized crime. What we do know is that most of our cars that are being stolen from both South Simcoe's community and the Barrie community are headed south and they're not staying in our communities."

Johnston said joyriders generally take vehicles and keep them in the community.

"These vehicles are going to the Greater Toronto Area and they're headed to a port of call to go to another country, and that's the concern."

South Simcoe Police Chief John Van Dyke said this type of organized crime is not welcome here.

"We are prepared to combat auto theft with tools and resources that focus on prevention, detection, analysis and enforcement."

The public also plays a critical role in protecting their vehicle from being stolen.

In the days and weeks ahead, both police services will embark on a comprehensive plan that includes the distribution of 10,000 Faraday Bags that are designed to prevent key fob signals from being obtained.

But if you get one of these bags, the ask of Johnston to the community is to use it.

"Behaviour change is incredibly difficult for any human being, but the recognition is that you've made this investment in a wonderful piece of property and you take care of it. I guess the ask of our community is to help us help you."

Image - Faraday Bags on display at news conference at Barrie Police Headquarters on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 (Barrie 360 - photo)

The funding will also be used to have a dedicated crime analyst.

"We're looking at a large, large geography, but is the theft of those vehicles shared over that large geography or is it concentrated in certain areas? You have to look at the crime picture and see what we can see from the data to best respond."

The public can also expect updates when arrests, recovered stolen motor vehicles are located and where and when thefts are occurring.

Banner image - L to R- South Simcoe Police Chief John Van Dyke and Barrie Police Chief Rich Johnston (supplied)

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