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Preventing catalytic converter theft

Alert message sent 20/09/2019 15:06:00

Information sent on behalf of Hampshire Constabulary

Good afternoon,

Catalytic converters are often targeted for the valuable metals they can contain so we are issuing the following crime prevention advice to help you protect your vehicle.

What is a Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is a device used to reduce the toxicity of a vehicles exhaust emissions. The catalytic converter is responsible for creating a chemical reaction that converts the noxious by-products (carbon monoxide) of combustion into inert substances (carbon dioxide).
A catalytic converter is primarily created from precious metals. Platinum, palladium and rhodium are the 3 most common metals used, however smaller catalytic converters may also contain iron and copper. These precious metals attract thieves who aim to sell the catalytic converter to a scrap metal merchant.
How do thieves steal a Catalytic Converter?
Catalytic converters can be easily unbolted from the underneath of the vehicle, however if the vehicle is of an older make then the bolts may be too corroded to unscrew. Many thieves go equipped with small hacksaws which allow them to quickly remove the catalytic converter from the exhaust. Large vans and tipper trucks are often the intended target due to their height off the floor. This allows the thief to easily position themselves underneath the vehicle.
How much will it cost me to replace my Catalytic Converter?
When a vehicle has the catalytic converter stolen, the replacement cost can range from £500 for small make vehicles, to £2,000 for large transit and tipper vans. In addition, many victims will have to make a claim on their insurance, resulting in an increase in their premiums. 
How can I prevent my catalytic converter from being stolen?
The following recommendations can help to deter thieves;
  •          Park your vehicle in the garage / car port / secure area.
  •          Ensure that your vehicle is parked in an overlooked well lit area.
  •          Look out for people who appear to be working under cars.
Commercial premises should also consider the additional deterrents;
  • Cat Clamp (see picture) – a cage that can surround your catalytic converter to prevent it being unbolted.
  • Spiked wire mesh fencing in order to safely secure your compound. Consider CCTV.
  • Park your vehicles in a manner which prevents easy access underneath.
Message sent by
Graeme Barbour (Police, Digital Communications Officer, Hampshire)

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