With case reports increasing, catalytic converter theft appears to be a growing problem. Have you been a victim? We want to hear from you.
I’ve noticed an increasing number of posts on social media about the thefts: it’s clear that this is a problem that’s getting worse, not better.
In a national first, 300 officers have executed 30 dawn raids targeting a network of criminals believed to be involved in hundreds of catalytic converter thefts 🚗
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 23, 2021
They’re not just being taken under cover of darkness, either. People are reporting having their catalytic converters stolen in supermarket car parks and even while parked up in broad daylight. One local resident reported the thieves cheerfully waving as they drove off.
Those affected are, understandably, angry. Angry there’s nothing they can do about it, bar get a crime number to pass on to their insurance company. Angry that the thieves are so brazen. Angry that it all seems to be so easy for them.
Why are catalytic converter thefts rising?
To get a better understanding of the problem, we spoke with one of the garages on our Which? Trusted Traders scheme. We put the following five questions to IN’n’OUT Autocentres:
🔧 1. Why is this issue growing so rapidly?
It’s always been an issue, but a jump from 2,000 reported cases in 2018 across England & Wales to 13,000 in 2019 shows it’s growing rapidly. Following on from repeated lockdowns the likelihood is that theft has increased as cars have been stationary in streets and driveways and not used for weeks. Fewer people out at night time can make thefts easier.
🔧 2. How are catalytic converters being removed without anyone noticing?
Unfortunately they are easy to remove, particularly on large vans and SUVs/4X4s as thieves can get under those vehicles more easily. Again with people being homebound in the evenings due to lockdown there are fewer people on the streets, making it easier to do.
🔧 3. What happens to a catalytic converter after it’s stolen?
They get sold for the scrap value or the second-hand market. Prices have rocketed for rhodium, platinum and palladium, with palladium selling more per gram than gold last year.
🔧 4. How much could victims be forced to pay for repairs?
It could be as little £200 depending on the car and the damage caused, or in some cases even into four figures.
🔧 5. What can be done to prevent catalytic converter theft?
We’d recommend parking the car in a garage if possible or a well-lit area, have a catlock device fitted, ensure your car alarm is set.
Have you been a victim?
Have you had your catalytic converter stolen? If so, we’d like to hear from you.
How did your insurance company approach the issue? Did you report the incident to the police? How did the police then deal with the situation?
Let us know in the comments. Alternatively, if you’d rather let us know privately you can reach us by email on firstname.lastname@example.org