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Risk Alert: Catalytic converter theft continues to rise

The frequency of catalytic converter thefts has increased sharply nationwide since the onset of the pandemic. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an average of 282 catalytic converters were stolen every month in 2019; in 2020 the average jumped to 1,203. In December alone, 2,347 catalytic converters were stolen. Church Mutual saw a 350% increase in catalytic converter theft claims in 2020, and we’re on pace to see even more in 2021.

Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system that help reduce emissions. They are attractive pieces to steal because they contain precious metals such as palladium, platinum and rhodium that can be sold to metal recyclers for up to $200 per converter. Taller vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, are often targeted because they provide easier access to the catalytic converter. Using a wrench or saw, a thief can steal a catalytic converter in just a few minutes.

To reduce the risk of catalytic converter theft from your organization’s vehicles, consider the following security measures:

  • Keep vehicles locked and parked in a secured, well-lit area when not in use. If a garage is available, park the vehicle inside.
  • Park close to building entrances.
  • Consider the use of security surveillance cameras in the area where vehicles are parked.
  • Adjust or calibrate the sensitivity of your vehicle’s alarm, if applicable, so that vibration will activate the alarm.
  • Have the vehicle identification number (VIN) engraved on the catalytic converter. This deters theft by lessening the likelihood of the part being resold to scrap metal dealers.

Other options include having the catalytic converter welded in place and/or placing a protective cover around it. Aftermarket products such as catalytic converter-specific locks, clamps, cages and alarms are commercially available.

Our Risk Control experts are here to help

If you have additional questions regarding the prevention of catalytic converter theft, call Risk Control Central at (800) 554-2642 (Option 4), Ext. 5213 or visit