Catalytic Converter Thefts – a Prolific Trend

Catalytic Converters

All vehicles manufactured after 1974 contain catalytic converters. Catalytic converters use precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium to reduce the toxic gases released form vehicle operation into less harmful emissions. These metals are valuable and can return thieves $100-$150 each at scrap yards. Replacement costs can reach up to $1000.

Vehicles with high ground clearance like SUVs and trucks are especially vulnerable to thieves who crawl under these vehicles late at night and quickly cut the converters from a vehicle’s undercarriage with a battery-operated saw.

• As always, SMPD reminds the Community that you are our “eyes and ears” – report suspicious activity immediately, so that we can respond quickly to identify suspects and prevent further crime.
o Call SMPD via 911, or 650-522-7700
o DO NOT use online SMPD services for in-progress crimes – call us directly!
• If you have a vehicle with high ground clearance like a truck or SUV, park in your garage or driveway if you can, and invest in motion-sensing driveway lights as a deterrent to late-night theft.
• Remember to lock your vehicles and remove or conceal valuables to prevent other theft activity.

The following additional safety tips come from the Nationwide Insurance website:

Smart steps for preventing catalytic converter theft
1. Always park in well-lighted areas.
2. At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close the entrance of the building, or near the access road where there’s a lot of traffic.
3. If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that’s busy during the day and secured at night.
4. Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable. This can act as a catalytic converter theft deterrent and help with local police investigations.
5. Purchase a vehicle security system, and make sure its set to triggered with just the slightest motion.
6. Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame.
7. Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or on the Internet.
More information about Catalytic Converters and theft can be found on the Nationwide website:

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