Aurelie Rivard, the acclaimed paralympic swimmer hailing from Quebec, boasts an impressive array of medals. Yet, one prize holds a special place in her heart – the gold medal won at the 400-metre swim, held in the breathtaking seaside city of Rio de Janeiro. This demanding midrange endurance event is a true testament to hours of toil, unthinkable sacrifices, relentless dedication and a whirlwind of emotions.
Unfortunately, over the recent weekend, Rivard’s cherished emblem of her remarkable triumph went missing. Just prior to this startling event, she had attended a function where her victories were acknowledged. And as she savored a dinner alongside her companions in Old Montreal on Saturday evening, the medal was left in her car.
Upon her return, the bleak sight of her dark grey Toyota RAV4 missing from its assigned spot greeted her. A solitary relic of its existence was her car window, shattered on the ground below. Alas, Rivard’s vehicle is just one among the tens of thousands that have fallen prey to robberies in Montreal in the past decade, a trend that only seems to be gaining pace.
The statistics are staggering. For instance, the records in 2016 placed the counts of vehicular theft under 4,500. By the time the previous year wrapped up, it had ballooned to a shocking 9,500. The statistics for the current year are equally grim. In the span of January through August, the tallies have already touched the 8,000 marks.
Automobile thefts have reached epidemic proportions, lamented George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association. The growing crime wave powered by a young demographic appears to favor more affluent vehicles, particularly Dodge Rams, Jeep Rubicon, and Wranglers. These purloined vehicles are frequently recovered from the Port of Montreal.
Earlier this year, the port became the scene of a significant seizure operation that recovered 53 stolen vehicles, amounting to a staggering $2.6 million. A significant chunk of these illicit plunderings originates from Quebec and Ontario, infiltrating through the porous ports, and disseminated to overseas markets.
Iny’s advice to protect one’s vehicle includes easy-to-implement solutions like the installation of a tracking device or a steering wheel bar. Getting the vehicle’s internals etched or marked could also serve to deter thieves. For specific counsel, one could contact their insurance provider to gain insights into the vehicle’s susceptibility to theft.
Regardless, Iny has a simple, foolproof hack for the owners of lavish vehicles to avoid drawing the thieving eye – embrace the humility of a sedan.