Ottawa, Ontario – Officials from across North America have gathered in Ottawa for the 2009 Auto Theft Export Summit, which allows law enforcement, government and other stakeholders to share information and ideas to curtail auto theft for export.

Leading experts are on hand to discuss the problem of theft for export, its connections to organized crime and terrorism, and some of the innovative tactics being used to fight the problem.

“Organized theft is big business in North America and on the rise,” said Rick Dubin, vice-president of investigative services for the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “Organized crime gangs routinely ship stolen vehicles overseas to fund operations, or to ‘chop shops,’ where their parts are sold for huge profits. This growing involvement of organized crime in auto theft is a threat to our safety and security.”

In 2007, auto theft cost insurers $542 million, or $35 for each auto insurance policy. The number of thefts across Canada dropped by nine per cent in 2007, but recovery rates also continue to decline. Low recovery rate is a strong indicator of organized criminal activity, because it means vehicles are being exported, chopped for parts, or re-identified and sold to unsuspecting customers.

A panel at the summit discussed the key successes of Canada’s five-month Ports Project in Montreal and Halifax, which resulted in the recovery of 347 high-end vehicles worth more than $10 million. IBC estimates that between 20,000 and 30,000 high-end stolen vehicles leave Canadian ports annually.

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