Former NYPD detective roasts Toronto for advising locals to help thieves steal their cars: ‘Cowardice’

As brazen car thieves wreak havoc on Toronto, a local cop who advised residents to make it easier for criminals and avoid violent confrontations shows a “total breakdown of society,” a 20-year New York police veteran told Fox News.

“It kind of looks like the Toronto Police are basically telling people to give up and don’t worry about getting your car stolen,” former NYPD Detective Vic Ferrari said. “It’s cowardice.”

NYPD vet roasts Toronto for advising locals to help thieves steal their own cars Video

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Car thefts in the Canadian city surpassed 12,000 occurrences in 2023 – a 25% increase from the year prior – and saw a 400% jump in home invasions and break-and-enters for auto theft incidents last year, according to Toronto Police Service data. The skyrocketing theft prompted Toronto Police Constable Marco Ricciardi to offer prevention advice at an Etobicoke safety meeting on Feb. 27, where he advised locals to leave their keys closer to their front doors to keep themselves safe, CityNews reported.

“To prevent the possibility of being attacked in your home, leave your fobs at the front door because they are breaking into your home to steal your car; they don’t want anything else,” Ricciardi said at the meeting.

A Toronto police officer gave controversial advice to locals over a spike in car thefts in recent years. (Andrew Francis Wallace / Contributor)

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“A lot of them that they’re arresting have guns on them, and they are not toy guns,” he added. “They are real guns. They’re loaded.”

Toronto Police released auto theft home invasion prevention tips in a Wednesday memo, which included telling locals to park their vehicles in garages, keep driveways well-lit at night and install home security systems if possible. They also addressed Ricciardi’s comments, which sparked outrage online among some fierce critics, the New York Post reported.

“An officer at a recent community meeting suggested that people leave the keys to their vehicle in a faraday bag by the front door,” Toronto Police wrote. “While well meaning, there are also otherways to prevent auto theft motivated home invasions.”

Toronto Police additionally responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Thursday, reiterating that Ricciardi’s comment was “well meaning, and for context, was in response to the increasing number of violent home invasions and break and enters related to vehicle thefts.”

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But Ferrari, who worked in the NYPD Auto Crimes Division, said Ricciardi’s advice would further embolden car thieves.

“Maybe it’s easy to give up, but you shouldn’t because it’s a total breakdown of society,” Ferrari said. “Don’t make it easy for them. Defend your car.”

A Toronto police officer advised locals to leave their car keys close to their front doors to avoid violent confrontations with car thieves after the city saw a 400% increase in home invasions and break-and-enters for auto theft occurrences between 2022 and 2023.  (REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo)

“Because what’s next? First, they’re going to steal your car, then they’re going to break into your house,” he continued. “Then they’re going to kick you out of your house. You got to take a stand with these people.”

Toronto auto theft incidents have steadily increased in recent years, more than doubling between 2019 and 2023, according to police data. The city has already seen 2,300 incidents year-to-date in 2024, according to the data.

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The NYPD veteran blamed prosecutors and police for not holding criminals accountable.

“No one is stopping these people from doing these things, and they’re getting a slap on the wrist,” Ferrari said. “It falls on the police departments and the prosecutor’s office.”

Some critics have blamed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the car theft surge after approving amendments made to the Criminal Code in 2022 that allowed criminals to serve under house arrest if they are not considered a threat to public safety and are sentenced to under two years in prison. Trudeau said he was considering enacting harsher penalties for violent car thieves at a national summit held in Ottawa last month on the auto theft crisis.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at a national summit on the auto theft crisis in February. He said he was considering enforcing harsher penalties on car thieves in response to the uptick. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

But car theft will continue to surge until tougher penalties are enforced, Ferrari said.

Criminals “say to themselves, ‘Well, look at this. I can make money stealing a car and nothing’s going to happen to me if I get caught, so I’m just going to keep doing it,'” Ferrari said. “That’s a breakdown of society.”

Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video. Gabriel Hays contributed to this report.

Megan Myers is an associate producer/writer with Fox News Digital Originals. 

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