The numbers are staggering.  Thefts of catalytic converters are on the rise all over West Texas.  San Angelo has been especially hard hit. In December of last year, there were 30 catalytic converter thefts in San Angelo.  This is no ordinary crime.  Thieves are getting more brazen and more dangerous.

Photo by Bastian Pudill on Unsplash
Photo by Bastian Pudill on Unsplash
loading...

Just last week four men wearing bandanas, long sleeve shirts, baseball hats and sunglasses stole a catalytic converter in the 500 block of Chestnut street. When a witness tried to stop them, they struck him with their vehicle and fled.

The campus of San Angelo State University has also been hit. There have been thefts in apartment parking lots and even in driveways.

Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash
Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash
loading...

So what's so valuable inside a catalytic converter? They have tremendous value for the precious metals they contain.  Some are rare like rhodium, palladium and platinum. They can be converted into fast cash for criminals. Platinum prices have continued to rise continuously for the last 20 years.  In trading, the lastest price of platinum is a whopping $977 an ounce. The price of palladium, another precious metal found in the converters is also on the rise.

Photo by Arya Dubey on Unsplash
Photo by Arya Dubey on Unsplash
loading...

The average price of replacing a catalytic converter is $1500 to $3000.  Trucks, which are higher off the ground, are at higher risk simply because the converters are easier to access for thieves.  The favorite target of thieves is the Toyota Prius.  This popular gasoline, electric hybrid has two converters and is a favorite target according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash
Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash
loading...

How can you protect yourself from being a victim? There are no foolproof methods that can foil very determined thieves, but you can minimize your chances of becoming a victim.

Anti-Theft Devices:  Catalytic converter anti-theft devices are available from many manufacturers.  They range from steel plates protecting the underside of the vehicle to cages made from steel cages made from steel cables that are supposed to discourage thieves by  make it more time consuming to steal a converter. There are also alarms, both full vehicle alarms and special converter specific ones.

Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash
Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash
loading...
Get our free mobile app

Secure Parking: Let's face it, unless you own a locked garage, there just aren't a lot of secure parking spots in San Angelo. When parking in your driveway, where thefts do occur, consider motion sensor lights. If you're parking on a street, try to pick a well-lit one with plenty of traffic.  Before signing a lease, ask the apartment community if they have a security monitor in the parking lot.  Try to park close to building entrances or the nearest road in public parking lots.

Photo by Giordano Rossoni on Unsplash
Photo by Giordano Rossoni on Unsplash
loading...

Engrave your VIN number on your catalytic converter or have it spray painted with mechanic approved engine paint.

Photo: Houston Police Cepartment via YouTube
Photo: Houston Police Cepartment via YouTube
loading...

Adjust you car's security System: If your security system is already installed, set it to activate from vibrations such as those produced by a saw.

Women hand holding car key,remote control car system
mapichai
loading...

Report a Theft Immediately: Alert law enforcement and your insurer if your converter gets stolen. Statistics can help get legislators to pass laws that make it tougher for thieves to sell stolen parts.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
loading...

Insurance policies often cover replacement of a stolen catalytic converter, but only if you have comprehensive coverage. Many people with older vehicles don't carry comprehensive, cine the premium isn't worth the potential payout if something goes awry.  If you are leasing or making payments, your car will be required to carry comprehensive insurance.  However, if you have a high deductible to keep premiums low, just like the mayhem insurance spokesman says: "You could be paying for this yourself".

Insurance claim form and assorted money
zimmytws
loading...

Even if your insurance covers the replacement of your stolen catalytic converter, it is an inconvenience you won't have time to deal with.  Supply chain issues mean long delays in getting the parts. Repair shop backups are common right now.  So the whole thing is a huge ordeal.

Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash
Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash
loading...

See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State

More From 96.5 KNRX