Edmonton police are warning drivers about an increase in catalytic converter thefts in the city.
The number of catalytic converter thefts in Edmonton so far this year has already surpassed last year’s total.
In all of 2020, 1,626 thefts of the exhaust emission control devices were reported to the Edmonton Police Service. As of Aug. 31, the total for 2021 stood at 1,701.
“The theft of catalytic converters continues to be an ongoing issue across our city,” EPS Det. Daniel Leach said in a news release Monday morning.
“It’s a crime of opportunity, and one that isn’t easy for citizens to protect themselves against.”
The precious metals found in catalytic converters are valuable to scrap metal dealers and recyclers. Leach said criminals often steal the converters and exchange them to “middle men” for drugs or money.
The repairs associated with replacing catalytic converters is costing Edmontonians and their insurance companies millions of dollars every year, Leach added.
Police say the thefts are happening right across the city.
“Your vehicle can be a target for thieves almost anywhere you park,” Leach said.
The EPS offers the following tips to drivers to protect themselves against theft:
- When possible, avoid parking your vehicle in a place where thieves can discreetly crawl underneath and remove the converter. An experienced thief needs only five-10 minutes to cut off and steal a converter
- Engrave it with your VIN (vehicle identification number) so it’s easier to identify as stolen property
- Have the converter welded to your vehicle, making it difficult to remove
- Spend a few hundred dollars for a special clamp or cage that will make removal far more difficult, discouraging a thief
- Invest in a car alarm that is sensitive to the vibration of a catalytic converter being sawed off
In an attempt to make it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen metal for scrap, provisions of the Protecting Alberta Industry from Theft Act were implemented in November 2020.
Police say now, all scrap metal dealers and recyclers must report transactions involving certain types of metal, including copper wire and catalytic converters. Payments for these types of transactions must also be made with traceable forms of currency, not cash.
Police hope the legislation will help curb the sale of stolen catalytic converters.
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