Electronic auto thefts are increasing across the country as more vehicles are equipped with new technology, such as keyless entry remotes, providing thieves with an opportunity to gain access to vehicles electronically, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

On Wednesday, the IBC released its annual list of the most stolen vehicles across Canada in 2020. The four-door, 2018 Honda CR-V SUV topped the list as 350 of these vehicles were stolen so far this year.

A 2017 Lexus RX350 SUV was the second most stolen car with 258 reported cases, and a 2017 Honda CR-V SUV took the third spot on the list with 247 thefts.

IBC’s National Director of Investigative Services Bryan Gast said this year’s list points to key trends in auto theft across the country, including electronic theft from people’s driveway, high-end vehicles stolen for shipment overseas and an increase in street racing.

Electronic theft refers to auto thieves who use technology to bypass security systems and electronically gain access to vehicles.

Gast said Canadians with high-end vehicles are advised to keep their key fobs secure and away from entrances to avoid these types of thefts.

"Keeping your key fob protected inside your house either in a pouch or a protective box so it doesn’t allow the radio transmission frequency to emit from that so it cannot be cloned," Gast told CP24 on Wednesday.

"I’m not saying all of these vehicles are being stolen through electronic means. Again, not leaving your vehicle running, not leaving the key in the ignition or in the vehicle. Some common sense approaches so vehicles cannot be stolen," he added.

In its report, IBC says many high-end SUVs continue to be stolen for export abroad. The national agency also noted that it is seeing cases where stolen vehicles are given false vehicle identification numbers and sold to unsuspecting customers.

The IBC also observed a growing trend in illegal gatherings for drifting events, providing a market for stolen, small and fast cars.

In Ontario, IBC says Lexus and Honda vehicles dominated the list with some stolen for export by organized crime groups and with others identified in street racing rings.

Peel Regional Police Const. Sarah Patten said there have been at least 80 reports of high-end vehicle thefts in the region since October alone, specifically the Lexus RX and the Toyota Highlander.

“We want to encourage the public to take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim. Consider parking in your garage. These thefts seem to be happening somewhere between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. in the morning so please report any suspicious activity you might see around your neighbourhood,” Patten told CP24 on Wednesday.

Patten suggested that households with multiple vehicles park the high-end car at the top of their driveway and the other vehicle behind it, and to install motion sensors or video surveillance to deter thieves from breaking into vehicles.

“We are also encouraging everyone to please not leave your keys at the front of your door because someone could just smash your window, reach in, and take the keys,” she said.

She also advised people to lock their vehicles with a spare key while their cars are warming on their driveway during the winter months.