Car Smash and Grab in Toronto – Lessons (re)Learned

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A Sunday afternoon feast upended by a smash and grab on my rental car in Chinatown, Toronto. Don’t park on Huron between D’Arcy and Baldwin. A resident said in the year he has been there he has seen more than 20 cases and the police do nothing, not even set up cameras. My call to the was greeted with “that happens all the time.” Discussion on my original post suggest that it is a major problem in Toronto, aided by paltry penalties and minimal police enforcement. Parking in Toronto is already enough of an expensive hassle without having to worry about assault; that’s one way to encourage public transport.

Toronto Smash and Grab

What made us a target was the one item left in the back seat, the backpack of my friend, @mchoi9. We had picked him up minutes before and on a bright sunny day in seemingly safe Toronto we all overlooked that the backpack was there. The standard advice is always to put things in the trunk and in this case my wife and I feel guilty that we lost nothing, only because our luggage was in the trunk and the thief did not have time on this busy street to boost the trunk.

Mike did lose a computer and a few items but he always carries his passport on his person and, cleverly, since his own car at home has keypad entry, did not bring his keys. He immediately went to an Apple store to secure his backup account. He was a picture of calm and reason through the episode and agreed to let me reprint excerpts of his emails.

Note that for those curious, I have not heard anything from Enterprise yet, when I returned the car the guy on duty said he had no idea how to handle it and would refer to the manager on Monday.

From Mike:

…It was such a crappy way to end the weekend, but I’m glad I packed light and the property was wasn’t too severe. The biggest ticket items was probably my laptop…It’s a good thing that I had my data backed constantly with the last…update on 5/31 which means I didn’t loose too much data…

I guess we all learned to hide stuff out of plain sight no matter how friendly or quiet the neighborhood seems. Never assume anything.  The old saying goes: out of sight equals out of mind.  I’ve never been a victim of petty crime until yesterday. With the number of days I’ve spent out of a foreign country or just traveling and taking into account the law of averages, it was bound to happen to me as somepoint.

I’m really glad I had my passport on me and I definitely plan to continue that practice. I even plan to buy those special pants that were on display at TBEX, which had a compartment for a passport…

And more:

I was annoyed and pissed off, but didn’t want to make a scene out of it in front of your wife and yourself. Additionally, acting irrationally wouldn’t have helped the situation. I normally a happy or even keeled guy.

During dinner, I did briefly mention my packing philosophy when I travel to mitigate any hassles with petty crime. I simply executed what I planned. I think this was key.

The weekend was pretty good and wasn’t going to let it hamper the rest of the night. A few peeps did buy me beers sunday when I told them my mishap, which was a nice gesture.

Another thing to note that I didn’t realize was my car keys. Luckily, I don’t carry what I don’t need and lock my car keys in my car because I have a numerical keypad entry to unlock it. The valet parking would serve the same purpose, but costlier. So I was able to avoid a logistical nightmare…

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[…] firm recommendations about travel safety. I would say Toronto is quite safe yet had my only car break-in there, in broad daylight on a Sunday. I have been to North Korea twice and never in any way felt […]

9 years ago

Cops in TA are useless

9 years ago

Dang, that sucks, I can’t believe that happened to you guys. Come’on Toronto, you are better than that!