Catalytic Converter Thefts

Date: September 21, 2021

Nancy Rigby, BITCO Home Office Technical Specialist, Risk Control

4 Good Practices to Help Respond To and Prevent Thefts

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), reported catalytic converter thefts increased from 282 thefts per month in 2019 to 1,203 in 2020. Learn more about why the number of catalytic converter thefts is on the rise and how to protect your business.

Why the Increase in Theft?

A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle's exhaust system, made from precious metals like rhodium, palladium, and platinum, and is worth thousands of dollars when sold to scrap dealers. In December 2020, the NICB estimated that, per ounce, rhodium is valued at $14,500, palladium at $2,336, and platinum at $1,061. This value makes them very enticing to thieves. Unfortunately, removing a catalytic converter is relatively simple. A well-equipped thief can do it in only a few minutes.

Cost of Theft

A single stolen catalytic converter and repairs to your vehicle may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. However, once you factor in the associated costs such as downtime and loss of business, the actual cost of theft could be thousands more. With a spike in catalytic converter thefts, use these recommended good practices to help respond to and prevent theft.

Recommended Good Practices

Vehicle Parking and Storage

To prevent thefts, store vehicles in a locked building. If you cannot park your vehicle in a garage, park in a well-lit area and close to the building entrances so people can see it.

Customize Your Catalytic Converter

Install metal rods around the part. Cutting through rebar to get to a converter would ruin an electrical saw blade. Most criminals would see the thick metal rods and move on.

Painting the outside of catalytic converters in a bright neon color makes them less desirable on the resale market. Engrave your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) into the catalytic converter for possible identification.

Set Up Alerts

Because a thief only needs a few minutes to steal a converter, timing is critical. Motion-detected alerts may improve the response time for law enforcement.

Report the Incident 

If you become a victim, report the incident to the police as soon as possible to allow them to spot trends.

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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