According to Statistics Canada, perhaps you should check that your car is still where you left it. On average, car thieves stole an auto every three minutes during 2001, said Canada’s national record keeping agency. There were just over 170,000 stolen vehicles reported to police that year, an average of about 470 a day. That amounted to a 5% increase over 2000, the first time figures had risen in four years. Interestingly, the Canadian rate of car theft was 26% higher than that of the United States. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, car theft costs Canadians about $1 billion a year. The losses include 600 million in insurance premiums and $400 million in health care, police, court and corrections costs. There is a significant regional bent to the rise in thefts. Between 1991 and 2001, theft rates doubled in London and Hamilton, tripled in Regina and more than quadrupled in Winnipeg. Manitoba’s theft rate was twice the national average and the highest among the provinces. The lowest rates were recorded in the Atlantic provinces. In Regina, there were 1,996 thefts for every 100,000 people in the population. In St. John’s, the rate was 183 per 100,000. Approximately 25% of the vehicles stolen were never recovered and the statistics agency said that suggests these thefts were connected to organized crime rings. Despite the claims of organized crime, however, most car thieves are barely old enough to have drivers licenses. About 40% of those charged with auto theft were between the ages of 12 and 17, with 16 the most common age. In the 1980s, police solved one in four car thefts, but that rate fell to about one in eight in the last six years. The popularity of sport utility vehicles and vans has been growing among thieves as well as consumers, the report said. Theft of trucks rose 59% between 1991 and 2001, while car thefts rose only 3%.