Houston, you have a problem – rising catalytic converter thefts are all over the news and it’s high time that you get a decent idea of the situation. It has become extremely commonplace for thieves to steal catalytic converters from parked cars in the driveways. That too in broad daylight, as has been reported in the press recently. Let’s delve into what’s happening and find more information on the catalytic converter and its theft, especially in Houston.
Catalytic converter theft in Houston
As a line of defense against harmful exhaust emissions, catalytic converters are useful to convert pollutants into harmless gases. In order to get their hands on the valuable platinum or palladium or rhodium found in catalytic converters, criminals target these devices.
Thieves can get up to $250 even from scrapyards. Experts advise that you engrave your vehicle identification number (VIN) on your catalytic converter. This makes it more difficult for thieves to sell it to a reputable scrap dealer.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter theft is on the rise across the country, with monthly averages jumping from 108 in 2018 to 282 in 2019 to 1,203 in 2020 and so on. Catalytic converter thefts in Houston alone were about to reach nearly 1,800 in 2020, according to police. However, there were over 2,200 reports by June 2021.
Even last month, according to police, some suspects had a catalytic converter in possession. The criminals alleged involvement in thefts ranging from $2,500 to $30,000 along with other accusations.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a drastic increase in auto crimes to include a rise in catalytic converter thefts, and Texas continues to be at the top of the list,” said David Glawe, NICB president according to a report by Star-Telegram.
Which cars are most susceptible to catalytic converter theft?
Any gas-powered car built after 1975 can be a target. But older cars are the most common targets for catalytic converter thefts. Their catalytic converters contain more valuable metals. Catalytic converters in older cars may contain more metals than those in newer models. The technology was less advanced at the time. In comparison to older vehicles, converters in newer vehicles are less prone to wear and tear. This allows metals to be in better condition. The catalytic converters of hybrid cars are also an important target for thieves because of their infrequent usage than those of conventional vehicles, making them easier to steal.
The vehicle’s finish and construction may be more critical considerations than its age and condition. Catalytic converter theft is more common in vehicles with high ground clearance (such as SUVs). Because it is easier to reach the converter from underneath the vehicle. Depending on the installation, the converter can have an impact. While some automakers use bolts, others weld the converter to the vehicle’s chassis. Double-check your converter, as this method is more vulnerable to theft.
How to prevent catalytic converter theft?
Theft of a catalytic converter is preventable by taking certain precautions.
- Place your car so that the exhaust pipe is as close to the wall as possible. A thief will find it difficult to access the catalytic converter this way.
- The parking of vehicles with lower ground clearance should be outside of the vehicles with higher ground clearance if you have more than one (like SUVs).
- Think about having your converter engraved with the VIN number of your vehicle so that it can be traced.
- Set your car alarm so that it goes off when you move the steering wheel.
- Consider installing a device to protect the catalytic converter. The converter is under the protection of a cage-like device installed around it, making it more difficult and time-consuming to steal.
Is there any law against catalytic converter theft?
A vehicle theft victim can expect to pay up to $2,000 to have their vehicle repaired. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, several states are enacting laws that regulate scrap metal transactions or dealers in an effort to reduce metal theft (NCSL). In some cases, the NCSL says, scrap dealers may be required by law to verify the identity of scrap sellers before accepting their metal or to document vehicle descriptions and photographs of the scrap that is delivered to the dealer.
Does my insurance cover a stolen catalytic converter in Houston?
Typically, comprehensive insurance coverage covers catalytic converter thefts. In most cases, comprehensive insurance will cover the cost of replacing the catalytic converter and repairing any damage caused by its theft.