Delta police are warning the public about a city-wide spike in catalytic converter thefts.
Since Jan. 1, the Delta Police Department has received 33 reports of catalytic converter theft. The incidents have occurred throughout Delta, most of them overnight.
Police say catalytic converters are stolen because they contain several precious metals more valuable than gold, such as rhodium (worth $12,600/ounce as of December 2022), palladium ($1,854/ounce) and platinum ($1,021/ounce).
As thieves need access to the underside of a vehicle to steal a catalytic converter, cars with higher platforms are the most targeted — especially Hyundai and Kia SUVs, though other makes and models have been hit as well.
Cutting and removing a catalytic converter from a vehicle takes less than one minute.
While the DPD works to prevent such thefts by utilizing proactive strategies and deploying plain-clothes officers to conduct targeted enforcement on known property crime offenders, police believe the high value of the catalytic converters and thieves’ ability to quickly remove them from vehicles has potentially increased the number of people stealing them.
DPD public affairs manager Acting Insp. James Sandberg said the department is working to bring awareness to the trend of catalytic converter thefts seen so far this year.
“We encourage our community to be our partners in preventing such thefts by considering some tips we offer,” Sandberg said in a press release.
Tips to prevent catalytic converter thefts include parking in a well-lit area or a garage, parking with your vehicle in view of a CCTV security camera, paying attention to odd sounds such as that of a battery-powered saw or grinder, having an auto shop engrave your vehicle’s identification number onto your catalytic converter (this improves the likelihood of identifying a converter following a theft), and purchasing an aftermarket protective shield that adds a layer of security to your catalytic converter.
The DPD also encourages community members to immediately report any suspicious activity, such as a car idling with a driver in it while the passenger exits and seemingly cases vehicles, by calling 911 to report what may be a theft in progress.
If residents know of someone committing catalytic converter thefts, they can report them anonymously by calling Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.