Catalytic converter thefts up compared to 2020, EPS says
Theft of catalytic converters in Edmonton has already surpassed 2020 numbers.
According to EPS, 1,626 thefts of the exhaust emission control devices were reported to police in 2020. In the first three quarters of 2021, 1,701 catalytic converter thefts have already been documented.
“We’re trying to work collaboratively with other services throughout the province. We’re sharing intelligence and communicating regularly to try and figure out how to combat this,” Edmonton Police Service Det. Daniel Leach, said to media.
An experienced thief needs only five to 10 minutes to cut off and steal a converter, a release read.
“The unfortunate thing is, is that they’re a dime a dozen really,” Leach explained.
“Every time we arrest one person, put them in jail… somebody else comes in and fills their place. It’s such a lucrative business for them at this point.”
Leach told CTV News Edmonton, criminals will often find a way to get around the provisions put in place, but noted it does slow them down.
“Much of the time these thefts are driven by drug addictions and similar issues, so I would suggest there’s a huge component of lifestyle behind that, which needs to be addressed as well.”
“It’s a crime of opportunity,” he added.
In November of last year, new provisions were implemented to the Protecting Alberta Industry from Theft Act to make it more difficult for criminals to sell stolen metal for scrap, according to police.
“The vehicle exhaust repairs associated with replacing catalytic converters are costing Edmonton citizens and insurance companies millions of dollars every year,” Leach said.
To protect your vehicle from a catalytic converter theft, EPS has a few suggestions:
- Avoid parking your vehicle in places where thieves can discreetly crawl underneath
- Engrave the converter with your VIN number
- Have the converter welded onto the vehicle
- Invest in a special clamp or cage for the converter
- Invest in a car alarm that is sensitive to the vibration of the converter being sawed off
“Until we see the issues that drive the crime to begin with dealt with, and some effective punishment at the back end for those that persist, it’s going to be a troublesome issue for us for a while," Leach said.