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Catalytic Converter Thefts Could Continue To Grow Worse

Feb. 22, 2023- Theft of catalytic converters has recently been on the rise and may continue to rise. Catalytic Converter thieves have recently been stealing converters more often, statistics compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a group focused on preventing and prosecuting insurance crime, show theft of “cats” skyrocketed 1,215% from 2019 and 2022.

The situation could worsen as war between Ukraine and Russia rages on, Russia being the largest distributor in palladium, one of the precious metals used to make catalytic converters. Russia distributes roughly 40% of the worlds palladium.

Converter are used to convert harmful emissions like carbon monoxide into safe ones like steam through the use of a chemical catalyst. It has been standard in nearly every vehicle manufactured since 1975 because of the Clean Air Act.

Recently several thieves around East Texas have been caught stealing converters. Hopkins County recently made a arrest for a converter theft, to read about this story click here: Catalytic Converter Thief Arrested

A congressional bill supported by the National Automobile Dealers Association has been reintroduced to fight the thefts. The Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act, or PART, would require new vehicles’ VINs to be stamped on their converters, making stolen parts traceable, and create a grants program to pay for marking of existing vehicles.

Ways to prevent theft:

  • Park in secure garages or in well-lit areas. If you park in your driveway, install motion sensor lights and security cameras. In public garages and lots, park near the entrance.
  • Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device such as a cage or steel plates.
  • Install an alarm, either for the whole car or just for the catalytic converter, or increase the sensitivity level of your car alarm to alert you if anyone tampers with your car.
  • Engrave your vehicle VIN and phone number on your catalytic converter. It could help law enforcement track and identify the stolen part. Look for free catalytic converter marking events near you.
  • Spray paint your catalytic converter with high-temperature automotive paint can alert scrap recyclers to look for VIN etchings.
  • Report the theft to law enforcement and your insurance company. Statistics can help pass laws that make it harder for thieves to steal catalytic converters. 
  • Put a security sticker on your windshield. A sticker warning that your vehicle is equipped with an alarm system could deter thieves.

Author: Ethan Klein

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