Preventing catalytic converter thefts

Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise statewide. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is reminding the public to be aware and consider taking simple precautions that could help safeguard their vehicles from this and other types of crime.

Your vehicle’s catalytic converter is a device used to reduce toxicity of emissions from an internal combustion engine. It is required by law on every motor vehicle operated in the United States since 1975. It is attached to your exhaust system underneath your car. Catalytic converters contain expensive precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium. These recyclable materials can be easily “scrapped” for a quick profit. Thieves usually commit these crimes in the early morning hours, often targeting trucks or SUVs because the higher ground clearance allows easier access underneath the vehicle. However, sports cars and sedans may also be targeted. The most common vehicles targeted are 1999-2003 Ford F/E series 250 and 350 vehicles, Toyota Prius, Honda Element, Honda Accord, and older model Jeep Cherokee SUV’s.

1. Park in a secured garage when possible or in a well-lit area with surveillance cameras and/or where the vehicle will be seen by passersby.
2. Install motion-sensitive lighting to illuminate driveways used for parking.
3. Consider adding security cameras to oversee driveway and on-street parking areas.
4. Engrave the VIN number onto catalytic converter. This will make it easier to track if stolen.
6. Research catalytic converter anti-theft devices and weigh the pros of having one installed.

Help us to deter this and other crimes. Be alert and aware while in parking lots, on roadways and in your neighborhood. Report suspicious activity by calling the Ventura County Sheriff’s non-emergency number at 805-654-9511. If you see a crime in progress, call 9-1-1.


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