Operation GTA, a joint-forces operation focused on identifying and targeting the criminal networks responsible for funding and fueling the increase in violent carjackings across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Multiple jurisdictions across the GTA have seen a marked increase in carjackings during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. These often-violent crimes of opportunity, many involving armed suspects, continue to cause havoc in our communities and pose serious risk to public safety. Many of the carjacked vehicles once stolen are often used to commit other violent crimes such as retail robberies and other carjackings.
Operation GTA was initiated in June 2022. Multiple arrests and search warrants were executed on October 11 and 12, 2022, resulting in 16 people charged with 116 offences. A crime prevention and social media campaign was also integrated as part of the task force strategy, where investigators connected with large segments of the population and reached more than one million followers.
Investigators recovered 19 stolen vehicles worth approximately $1.4 million and identified an additional 50 re-vinned vehicles worth over $5 million. These re-vinned vehicles are stolen and have had their Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) altered. Investigators believe that some of these vehicles have been resold to unsuspecting buyers.
This multijurisdictional task force was led by York Regional Police and partner agencies included the Toronto Police Service, the Durham Regional Police Service, the Halton Regional Police Service, Peel Regional Police and the Ontario Provincial Police, with funding provided by the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario. The funding supported investigative resources to co-ordinate investigations across jurisdictional boundaries.
To view a video highlighting the operation click here: https://youtu.be/HDxeLdOpnhk
Anyone with information about York Region occurrences is asked to contact the York Regional Police Hold-Up Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6631 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips.