Over the last several years, catalytic converter thefts shot up a mind-blowing 1,000 percent. In some areas of the country, that figure was significantly higher. As in, like, more than 7,000 percent. Toyota even went as far as to offer a catalytic converter shield on new Priuses because thieves were targeting them so frequently. But while that’s bad news, we do have some good news. Or at least less bad news. Catalytic converter thefts are dropping.
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USA Today reports that according to BeenVerified, which claims to have “analyzed catalytic converter theft data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and search data from Google,” between January and June of this year, there were an estimated 26,742 catalytic converter thefts. That’s still a lot of thefts, and it’s probably no consolation to someone whose cat was just stolen to hear that other people’s cars were left alone, but that’s still a 43 percent decrease compared to the same time period last year. Things are officially turning around, folks.
That said, not every area of the country saw the same decrease in catalytic converter thefts. Some states such as Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington saw even more significant drops in theft rates, but New Jersey’s catalytic converter thefts were actually up 25 percent. Also, even though thefts are down overall, they’re still happening at a rate that’s 21 times higher than we saw back in 2019.
“I am not sure that the consumer is seeing the benefit yet from the decrease in catalytic converter thefts,” said Kerry Sherin, senior public relations manager for BeenVerified, told USA Today. “There is still a significant amount of theft.”
Aside from local law enforcement working to make it harder to sell stolen cats and punishing the thefts more severely, one of the big reasons for the drop in thefts is simply that you can’t make as much money from stealing them anymore. Prices for palladium and platinum, two of the valuable materials in catalytic converters that made stealing them so tempting, have fallen. With less incentive to steal cats and more of a risk of getting caught if you do, it makes sense that the theft rate has fallen. Even if it’s still far too high.