Catalytic converter theft plummeting in Manitoba due to new programs

STEINBACH, Man. –

The provincial government says an engraving program for catalytic converters will now help reduce theft rates for the in-demand car parts in Manitoba.

The province is implementing a program that will allow vehicle owners to have the vehicle identification number (VIN) engraved directly onto their catalytic converter, making the parts traceable for police if stolen.

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the program – started by Winnipeg Crime Stoppers – has caused catalytic converter theft rates to plummet in the city.

“This is not a ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign,” said Goertzen at Friday’s announcement. “But there were people a few months ago who said it was ‘Mission Impossible,’ it was going to be impossible to reduce catalytic converter theft. We have seen a very significant reduction, more than 80 per cent.”

Recent statistics from Winnipeg police show reported catalytic converter thefts have dropped dramatically over the past few months, from a high of 353 in April, to 31 in August, and just 19 in September.

President of Winnipeg Crime Stoppers Paul Johnson said more than 500 catalytic converters have been engraved in Winnipeg so far.

“We’re pretty pleased with it, we have 65 dealers that have stepped up and said they’ll do this work for free when a person comes in,” he said.

“It does seem to be working, but again, it’s not just one thing. I think the legislation, the fact that everybody’s stepping up … as well as the efforts of law enforcement,” said Johnson.

Goertzen also credits the provincial Scrap Metal Act, which went into effect in July, in helping to bring down catalytic converter thefts. Under that law, dealers must keep transaction records related to scrap metal purchases for two years. As well, cash transactions are not allowed over $50.

“It means a lot to people,” he said. “Because they feel violated when they come out of a place where they’ve been and they find their vehicle has been tampered with and compromised in that way.” 

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