The Austin Police Department Commercial Burglary Unit is seeing an influx of catalytic converter theft cases. The unit investigated 27 cases in 2019. In 2020, 584 thefts were reported.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals including palladium and rhodium. These chemical elements have increased substantially in value over the last five years and are now an attractive commodity for thieves to resell.
An analysis of 2020 catalytic converter theft cases revealed that the five most commonly targeted vehicles were: Toyota Prius (263 thefts), Honda Element (60 thefts), Ford Econoline (37 thefts), Chevrolet Express (24 thefts) and Toyota Tundra (17 thefts).
The majority of the 2020 catalytic converters thefts involved a personal vehicle and occurred at or near the owner’s residence.
The APD Commercial Burglary Unit encourages you to take the following steps to help protect your vehicle:
• Park in areas that are heavily trafficked and well lit when feasible
• If you have a garage with sufficient space, park inside and be mindful about closing the garage door
• Weld the catalytic converter to the vehicle’s frame to make it more difficult to steal
• Engrave the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter to make it easier to identify the owner
• Calibrate your car alarm to sound if there is vibration detected