DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham police said there has been a significant increase in reports of catalytic converter thefts recently.
Thieves are attracted to catalytic converters because they contain three precious metals. As the prices of these metals rise, so do the number of thefts, police say.
According to the Durham Police Department’s Crime Analysis Unit, there were 374 reports of catalytic converter thefts between July 1, 2020 and July 29, 2021. There were 161 reports between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
Authorities say many of the thefts were from Toyota Prius vehicles but there has been an increase in catalytic converters stolen from church vans and commercial vehicles. Investigators believe these vehicles are being targeted because they are higher off the ground and it is easier to get under them to remove the catalytic converters.
The Durham Police Department is working with other law enforcement agencies that are also seeing similar increases in thefts.
The Durham Police Department is providing the following tips to prevent thefts of catalytic converters:
- Park your vehicles in a closed garage, if possible.
- If you don’t have a garage, park in a secured, fenced area or park in a well-lit area.
- Park near a video surveillance camera.
- Call 911 to report suspicious activity.
- Check on the vehicle frequently so if theft does occur you can narrow down the time it happened.
- Install a catalytic converter protection device.
- Set your vehicle security system to activate at the slightest vibration.
- If you have a doorbell camera/motion detector, set it up to send audible alerts to your cell phone if motion is detected. Pay particular attention to alerts during the evening and early morning hours since this is when many of these thefts occur.
- If you discover a catalytic converter theft, try not to touch the lower body panels of the vehicle so that potential evidence may be preserved.