Catalytic converters are being stolen at a higher rate this year and thefts in 2021 already exceed last year’s total.
Converter thefts were a problem in 2020 with 1,626 auto part thefts reported to the Edmonton Police Service. This year, 1,701 incidents have been reported as of August 30, according to EPS.
The Edmonton Police Service said these thefts are leaving Edmontons and insurance companies with mechanical repairs that often total thousands of dollars.
“Your vehicle can be a target for thieves almost anywhere you park,” said EPS Det. Daniel Leach in a press release Monday. “Thieves often rob converters and trade them as ‘middlemen’ for drugs or money.”
Leach said in November 2020 that provisions were put in place for Alberta’s Industry Protection Against Theft Act to try to make it harder for thieves to sell stolen metal as scrap.
He said all scrap metal traders and recyclers now have to report transactions involving certain common forms of metal to law enforcement agencies through a central database and make payments for these transactions with traceable currency only; cash is not allowed.
Although theft of catalytic converters remains high, Leach said EPS expects new provincial legislation to impact the sale of stolen converters over time.
“It is a crime of opportunity and one that citizens cannot easily protect themselves from,” Leach said.
To reduce theft, Edmontonians can avoid parking where thieves can discreetly sneak under and remove the converter, engrave it with your vehicle identification number for easier identification as stolen, solder the converter to your vehicle, spend money on a clamp or cage making removal of the converter more difficult or investing in a car alarm sensitive to converter vibration that is cutting out, EPS said.