JANUARY 25, 2024 – The Provincial Carjacking Joint Task Force (PCJTF) is pleased to announce the results of enforcement actions against those responsible for violent vehicle crimes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including carjackings and home invasions for the purpose of vehicle theft.
Since September 21, 2023, the PCJTF’s efforts have resulted in:
· 89 arrests;
· 554 charges laid under the Criminal Code; and,
· 109 vehicles recovered.
This task force was made possible through funding provided by the Ontario Government, Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario (CISO). PCJTF is co-led by the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), with collaboration between police services from across the GTA, including York Regional Police (YRP), Halton Regional Police (HRP), Durham Regional Police (DRP) and Peel Regional Police (PRP).
“Our collaboration with the OPP and other services across the GTA as part of the PCJTF has proven very successful thus far, with more than 550 charges laid in 89 arrests, and 109 vehicles recovered. Although the number of carjackings in Toronto decreased in 2023 compared to the year before, we continue to see a concerning rise in violence related to auto thefts that the PCJTF will continue to address. Across the GTA, members of the task force are successfully disrupting the networks responsible for high-risk auto thefts and holding those who are responsible to account.” – Superintendent Steve Watts, Organized Crime Enforcement, TPS
“PCJTF officers are working closely with members assigned to the OPP-led Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team and partners, including Équité Association and the Canada Border Services Agency. Through this ongoing collaboration, we are confident that we can identify and dismantle the organized crime groups that are responsible for the recent spike in serious vehicle crimes.” – Detective Superintendent Paula Milne, OPP
Carjackings and other vehicle crimes pose threats to the safety and security of our communities. Here are some tips on how members of the public can protect themselves, their homes and their vehicles:
· Park vehicles in garage, if possible
· Ensure your driveway is well lit and keep exterior lights on all night
· Security cameras are an asset
· If possible, install a home security system – activate alarm on STAY when home and AWAY when out
· Consider having a motion detection alarm connected to your cell phone
· Put security film on glass windows and doors
· Have multipoint door locks on your doors
· Keep backyard gates locked and ground windows secured
· Do not post on social media when you will be away on holiday
· Report suspicious vehicle/persons in the neighbourhood to police
· Remain vigilant at all times, especially while driving at night.
· If you see someone coming toward your vehicle, lock the doors and set the alarm with your key fob. Noise will attract attention to yourself and your vehicle, which may deter thieves.
· Some thieves use intentional rear-end collisions as a tactic to commit carjackings. Once the motorist steps around back to inspect the damage, the thieves jump inside the vehicle and flee the scene. If your vehicle is rear-ended, remain calm. Do not exit the vehicle until it is safe to do so. Take note of the description of the driver, passengers (if applicable) and vehicle, including the colour, make, model and license plate number. If you notice anything suspicious, remain inside and call your police service of jurisdiction, or 911 in case of an emergency.
· If you suspect someone is following you, drive to the nearest police station. Alternatively, you can park your vehicle in any public lot that is well lit and likely to have security cameras, such as a gas station. Call police and notify them of the potential threat to your safety.
· If you are approached by armed suspects, remain calm. Comply with their demands and call police when it is safe to do so. Avoid confrontation with the thieves. A vehicle can be replaced, a human life cannot.
About the PCJTF:
As a result of the rising incidents of violence related to auto crimes across the GTA, local police services have combined resources and established a PCJTF to further co-ordinate law enforcement efforts in combating these crimes. This collaborative approach aims to disrupt the networks responsible for violent and high-risk auto thefts and maximize enforcement efforts against criminal organizations. Co-led by the TPS and the OPP, the task force is a collaboration between police services from across the GTA, including YRP, HRP, DRP and PRP.