Keep an eye on converters
Catalytic converters—devices on vehicles that look like a small muffler in the exhaust system—have become a hot item among thieves. The Dallas ISD Police Department wants employees to be aware of the rise in thefts of this device and take precautions.
“We want everyone to be conscious of their surroundings, and if they see something that looks suspicious—like cars driving unusually slowly through the parking lot—to call us so we can come check it out,” said Dallas ISD Police Chief John Lawton.
Staff can call 911 or the Dallas ISD Police number at (214) 932-5627 to report suspicious activity. Providing make, model and color of the suspicious vehicle and a description of the clothing, height, and complexion of people at the time of the call will help the officers handle the situation.
The catalytic converter processes environmentally hazardous exhaust emitted by an engine and converts them into less harmful gasses. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, it has become popular among thieves because s popular among thieves because they contain platinum, palladium, or rhodium. In recent years, the values of these precious metals have increased significantly and, typically, recyclers will pay $50 to $250 per catalytic converter.
Thief are taking advantage of reduced traffic in parking lots because of the pandemic and tend to target vehicles that are higher up off the ground because they can quickly get under the vehicle and take off the converter, Lawton said. While Dallas ISD police has been monitoring lots and looking into additional safety measures, people being vigilant can discourage thieves.
According to the NICB, catalytic converter thefts have seen a significant increase across the country since March of 2020, the start of the global pandemic, and especially in some states like Texas.
The cost of replacing a catalytic converter can range from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the vehicle.
Insurance experts and Dallas ISD police recommend:
- Installing a catalytic converter anti-theft device, which may be available from various manufacturers and can provide a level of security from theft.
- Parking fleet vehicles in an enclosed and secured area that is well lit, locked, and alarmed.
- Parking personal vehicles in a garage or a well-lit driveway.
- Contacting the police and insurer if the converter is stolen.
In some cases, this theft is covered by the optional comprehensive portion of an insurance policy.