If you follow the news regularly, you will have noticed that there have been several reports surrounding acts of vandalism throughout the province, specifically vehicular vandalism. These acts have an impact not only on the owners of the vehicles, but on society as a whole. Auto insurance premiums are found to be higher in areas with higher crime statistics. Therefore, if your neighbourhood is experiencing more incidents of crime as of late, it may translate to your home or auto premiums. Let’s delve a little deeper into the vandalism surge in Ontario and learn more about how to report vandalism in your area.

Vandalism crime on the rise

There has been a vandalism surge occurring throughout the GTA over the past couple of years. Some of the more recent incidents of vandalism are the following:

  • 10 cars vandalized with hate-motivated graffiti in Brantford: Although the vehicles were parked on a number of different streets, similar racist messages and hate symbols were found on the driver’s side of the car.
  • 14 vehicles spray painted with graffiti, hate-symbols in Waterloo: The incidents occurred on a total of seven different streets in Waterloo. No prior incidents in these neighbourhoods have ever been reported.
  • 21 cars vandalized with swastika markings in Toronto: Toronto police arrested a 45-year-old male in relation to what is being considered a hate-crime perpetrated against vehicles in the Bathurst Street & Dundas Street area on October 18th.
  • Vandalism in Alliston: Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are seeking the public’s assistance with numerous mischief complaints in Alliston on Sunday, August 22nd. A total of 41 vehicles have been reported to have deep scratch marks; with the majority around the entire vehicle.
  • Two OPP vehicles vandalized: A 25-year-old man is facing numerous charges after two OPP vehicles were damaged during a violent weekend in Wasaga Beach. Police say the vehicles were damaged on August 28th when suspects mounted the cars and smashed the windows. Police officers and a dog were inside the vehicles at the time of the violence. Neither the officers nor the dog were injured.

Reasons behind vandalism

Vehicle damage mischief cases are common in Toronto. Individuals are often charged with “keying” or damaging a vehicle’s paint, slashing tires, breaking windows, etc. These are often cases of rage. They may stem from:

  • A domestic dispute
  • Feuds between the parties in relation to a driving altercation
  • Disputes over a parking spot
  • Juvenile delinquency

Depending on the type of vehicle and the extent of the damage, these cases may be classified as either over or under $5,000 in damages, each category with its own set of penalties. If the alleged vandalism involved property with a value below $5,000, the court can sentence you to up to two years in jail, along with fines and probation. If the property value exceeds $5,000, you can receive a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.

Is vandalism a misdemeanour in Canada?

Criminal mischief is usually a charge laid following an act of vandalism. It is a severe criminal offence under the Canadian Criminal Code, leading to a criminal record, fines, probation, and sometimes jail time. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a person may be charged with criminal mischief based on vandalism if he or she destroys property that belongs to another or otherwise alters the property in some way. In order for it to be a criminal offence, the property alterations must be deliberate.

Types of vandalism and criminal mischief

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a person may be charged with criminal mischief based on vandalism if he or she destroys property that belongs to another or otherwise alters the property in some fashion. If the act was accidental, it will not amount to vandalism or criminal mischief. Activities that can ultimately result in criminal mischief charges include:

  • Spray painting a bridge or the exterior of a vehicle
  • Slashing a person’s tires
  • Smashing in a person’s house or car windows

Reporting acts of vandalism

Ontario Provincial Police

The OPP has now expanded its online reporting capabilities by expanding its occurrence types. Citizens may now engage in online reporting of the following incidents:

  • Lost/missing property
  • Stolen licence plates or validation stickers
  • Theft from a vehicle
  • Mischief to a vehicle
  • Mischief (damage to property other than a vehicle, including graffiti)
  • Theft
  • Gas theft
  • Driving complaints

Please call the OPP, toll-free, at 1-888-310-1122 to file a report.

Toronto Police Services

Toronto residents can file an online report here.

To report a non-emergency incident outside of the city of Toronto, please contact the police service that is responsible for your area:

How can I prove someone vandalized my car?

Unless you actually saw the individual vandalize your car, it is next to impossible to prove. If you have comprehensive coverage, the damages will be covered – minus your deductible. You will need to take the following steps:

  • Take multiple pictures from all angles
  • Check to see if anyone in your area saw this event taking place
  • Report it to the police
  • Call your isure broker or insurance company

Will my insurance go up if someone keyed my car?

It is all going to depend on your insurance provider. In many cases, whenever a claim is made by an insured, the premiums do go up. For this reason, a lot of people don’t want to put in a claim unless the vandalism is substantial. You may want to get a quote for the damage repair before you make your decision to put in a claim. To learn more about deciding whether to claim or not, please click here.

What should I do if my car window is smashed?

This is another common act of vandalism. You need to document the damage through photos. You will also need to see if anything has been stolen. This is different than keying a car, as the culprit can now access the interior of your vehicle. You will also need to file a police report and decide whether filing a claim is worth it or not.

Does comprehensive insurance cover stolen items?

While comprehensive insurance does cover damage from a break in or when your car itself is stolen, it doesn’t cover personal items that are stolen from your car. Instead, these items are covered by your homeowners insurance policy or renters insurance policy. However, as with comprehensive coverage, your home or renters insurance policy will come with its own deductible. As a result, it will only make sense to file a claim if you’ve lost items of substantial value, such as a laptop. If you want to file a claim for stolen items, make sure those items are listed on your police report.

Remember, if you experience an incident of vandalism, whether to your home or your vehicle, be sure to contact your isure representative and insurance company to help guide you through the claims process. While you may decide that it is not worth filing a claim, your isure broker can help talk you through the procedures so that you can put this uncomfortable incident behind you.

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