Will catalytic converter theft ever come to a halt in the country? The likely reality is that this type of auto part theft will not. At least, not any time soon.
Has Catalytic Converter Theft Decreased?
As of 2023, USA Today reported a 540% increase of stolen catalytic converters across the nation since 2020. With catalytic converter crimes striking states like New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, the rate of increase in these undercarriage crimes are staggering. New York alone saw a 183% increase year over year since 2019 and major cities as well as suburbs is where these crimes occur most.
The rampant increase in catalytic converter crimes is mainly due to the rise of precious metals. Three of which are found in catalytic converters. Platinum, Rhodium, and palladium. All of which are worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars per ounce. Because a catalytic converter holds a decent amount of these metals, one catalytic converter alone can be sold to scrap metal dealers for hundreds of dollars.
Because this exhaust part is located outside the vehicle, beneath the undercarriage, thieves with an electrical hacksaw can slip beneath your car and cut the converter from the exhaust pipes in less than a few minutes. For an experienced thief, it is a fast and easy way to make money. Crooks have grown to target vehicles just about anywhere too. In public parking lots or parking garages and even home driveways.
Are Gated Communities Safe From Catalytic Converter Theft?
Not even car owners who live in gate-protected communities are safe from catalytic converter thieves. With hackable bar code stickers and trigger activating gate opening mechanisms that can bypass gate arms, thieves have been known to get into gated communities to steal catalytic converters. Though this is a less common approach for most nighttime criminals because of surveillance systems and limited routes of escape, most cars are targeted outside on the streets or in neighborhoods with no gate or roaming security.
In one upscale gated community in Baton Rouge, there was a home which housed a catalytic convertertheft ring. When police broke the case, there were over 100 stolen catalytic converters found in the garage.
Your Vehicle is Only Safe if Parked in a Home Garage
Unless your vehicle is safely protected within the confines of your home's garage, your vehicle is always at risk of having its catalytic converter stolen. Especially if your drive a large truck like the Toyota Tundra or a Toyota Prius. With police reports of stolen catalytic converters in public parking garage or parking lots across the country, many thefts occur in the early hours of morning in home driveways. This is mainly because the catalytic converter will be cold and not hot to the touch making it easier to handle. Also, because a neighborhood at night has less surveillance making it easier to conceal a getaway car and facial identity.
To help prevent catalytic converter theft at home or in public, many drivers are turning to catalytic converter shield guards for their undercarriage. A sure way to block a thief with a saw is to install a secure shield plate that denies access to your exhaust pipes. It is an affordable route and sure way to keep your catalytic converter attached no matter where your car is parked.