The Omaha Police Department Auto Theft Unit has observed a spike in catalytic converter thefts in recent weeks, and detectives are actively working those cases. Thieves have been targeting domestic trucks and fleet vans (3/4 ton and 1 ton series) and other vehicles with a higher ground clearance, as it is easier to access the catalytic converters on those vehicles. Recent reports also indicate that certain foreign vehicle models are being specifically targeted, as the catalytic converters contain a higher percentage of precious metals. These catalytic converters are being targeted due to the rise in the prices and value of the precious metals (platinum, palladium, and rhodium) contained inside the converters.
Despite this uptick, there are several ways to try and prevent catalytic converter theft.
-Park your vehicle inside a secure garage, secured yard, or parked in a way to prevent access to the undercarriage (especially for fleet vehicles).
-If parking in a driveway, be sure to have motion lights or continuous lights illuminating your driveway as a deterrent.
-If available, be sure to park in areas that are covered by video surveillance.
-A car alarm equipped with a vehicle motion detector will also be helpful.
-Mark or engrave your vehicle’s catalytic converter with the vehicle license plate or VIN number, or with brightly colored, high-temperature paint. This will help law enforcement track a converter back to your vehicle in the event of a theft.
-Check with your insurance company regarding catalytic converter theft as many insurance companies do cover such a theft under comprehensive coverage plans, as the catalytic converter is an OEM vehicle part.
-There are also several options for anti-theft devices from companies such as the “CatClamp” and “CatStrap” that offer devices that surround or bolt onto the converters, or there are covers and shield type devices from “Cat Security” and various others, that are made for specific vehicle models and bolt in place, protecting the catalytic converter.
-If suspicious activity or crimes in progress are seen, be sure to call 911 immediately. If your catalytic converter is stolen, you will know as soon as the vehicle is started, as it will sound like there’s no muffler at all. It is still ok to drive your vehicle directly to a muffler shop/dealership for repairs. If possible take photos of the damages prior to repairing the vehicle.