PHILADELPHIA - Car thieves can steal a catalytic converter if your vehicle is not secured in a secure garage. An anti-theft device like a locking cable or a steel cage can prevent theft. Using these tools can help protect your converter and save you money. Engraving the VIN on the converter can also alert a scrap dealer if it is stolen.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of thefts of catalytic converters has been rising to over 2,300 since December 2020. This is not surprising since these converters contain precious metals like platinum and palladium, which have seen dramatic increases in price in recent years. While platinum prices were low earlier this decade, they are now over $1,000 an ounce, and palladium has fallen to $617 per gram.

In addition to installing protective devices to keep thieves from accessing catalytic converters, car owners can also install vibration sensor alarms. A vibration-sensitive alarm will sound when a catalytic converter is cut or sawed. Some newer cars are even equipped with alarms to keep thieves at bay. These anti-theft devices will also lower your car insurance rates. Then, when thieves are tempted to steal your catalytic converter, they'll go somewhere else.

The theft of catalytic converters has a direct correlation to economic instability. The unstable economy and increased unemployment have contributed to the rise in car theft. Also, people are out of work for extended periods and looking for easy cash. Because of limited resources, stealing catalytic converters may make more sense in times of crisis. It is also easier to steal the converter than the entire car. And it is also more profitable, too. The thief may even be motivated by a higher payout than if they steal a whole vehicle.

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