Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention
***CRIME PREVENTION AWARENESS: CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS***
WHAT IS A CATALYTIC CONVERTER, AND WHY DO CRIMINALS WANT IT?
Located underneath your vehicle, a catalytic converter is part of a gas-powered car’s exhaust system. Since 1975, the Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that every new vehicle sold in the U.S. has a catalytic converter. These required components are designed to reduce harmful emissions.
While there are efforts to better screen incoming material for aftermarket sale, criminals target these devices because they contain expensive, precious metals which criminals sell to recycling centers or to other criminals for illegal trafficking purposes. For the most part, these devices are easy to steal, especially if the criminal has the appropriate tools to quickly cut the converter from the rest of the exhaust system, such as a battery powered reciprocating saw or hand pipe cutter. Over the past few months, DPD officers have made several arrests of property crime suspects who were in possession of such tools.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM A VICTIM?
Catalytic converters are expensive to replace. At first glance, you may not know you are a victim. However, once you start your car you will notice a louder than normal engine noise. If your car was in normal working condition before this, there is a chance that your catalytic converter has been stolen.
Take a look under your car and follow your exhaust pipe to your muffler. If there is a gap in the pipe – your catalytic converter has been stolen (See the attached file photo for an example). If you are unsure but suspect that you are a victim and cannot check yourself, call our non-emergency dispatch line (253-287-4455) and a DPD officer will come to your location and check your car. We will take a report and collect any evidence. This will help us investigate the crime. You will also need our case number if you contact your insurance carrier about the theft.
CATALYTIC CONVERTER CRIME PREVENTION TIPS:
- If you have a garage, park in it and lock the garage if possible.
- If you can’t park in a garage, park in a well-lit area.
- If you can, etch your license plate number or your VIN onto your catalytic converter. This will make it easier for DPD, or another law enforcement agency, to identify it if it is ever recovered – it may also help us establish probable cause for possession of stolen property and make an associated arrest.
- Install an anti-theft device. Some auto shops can install protective metal shields to your car’s undercarriage frame to cover the catalytic converter for a few hundred dollars. However, you should check your vehicle’s warranty or seek guidance from your dealership before any modifications.
FOR IN-PROGRESS EMERGENCIES: DAIL 9-1-1
FOR NON-EMERGENCIES, OR TO REQUEST AN OFFICER: DIAL 253-287-4455