New Westminster – The New Westminster Police Department has recently observed an increase in the theft of catalytic converters.
A catalytic converter is an emissions-control device attached to a vehicle’s exhaust system, which converts toxic exhaust gases into less harmful emissions. Thieves have been targeting these, which in turn they sell for a small amount of cash to scrap metal dealers. However, the replacement cost for a catalytic converter can be significant for both the owner and their insurance company.
The NWPD Criminal Intelligence Unit is reviewing all recent catalytic converter files to provide patrol officers with a proactive and strategic approach to protecting people’s property. These offences are often under reported because owners generally take their vehicles in for repair without reporting the crime. We want to encourage anyone who has had their catalytic converter stolen to report it to NWPD.
“One of the easiest ways to prevent catalytic converter theft is to park in your garage. We understand that not everybody has the ability to park in a garage, so we suggest parking in a well-lit area,” stated Sergeant Sanjay Kumar. “Thieves don’t want to be seen because they have to get under your vehicle to steal the catalytic converter.”
The most frequently targeted vehicles this year are Honda SUVs/minivans (CRV, Element, Odyssey), followed by Ford pickups and vans.
The following steps are recommended to make it more difficult for thieves to steal these items:
- Where possible or available, park vehicles in secured parking areas as opposed to street or open area parking.
- If street or open area parking is your only option, try to park in well lit areas, or stalls close to entrances or areas with increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
- Be aware of suspicious persons loitering in parking lots or other unsecured areas where vehicles are parked. Call police should you be concerned that someone is acting suspicious in these areas or about to commit a theft from a vehicle.
- Consider speaking with your garage about low cost options for securing or alarming your vehicle against catalytic converter or other thefts from your vehicle.