“This issue is not new for law enforcement, but public education and police investigations are only part of the solution,” says Chief Dale McFee. “We need to make it much harder for criminals to steal or sell them, we need a game-changer to help stop this crime of opportunity.”
While police services across Alberta develop initiatives and coordinate efforts to reduce catalytic converter thefts, residents and businesses continue to get hit hard, and crimes continue to surge here and across the country.
In 2021, there were 4,797 reported catalytic converter theft occurrences in Alberta, with 2,647 or 55% of thefts taking place in Edmonton. In some of these occurrences, more than one catalytic converter may have been stolen, and it is estimated that replacements, repairs, and other related expenses cost Edmontonians nearly $13 million that year.
In the first six months this year, theft occurrences in Edmonton went up from 1,445 in 2021 to 1,761 in 2022. Unfortunately, thefts in the city have continued to increase 219% over the last three years.
As catalytic converters are being stolen to recycle the precious metals contained within such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, thefts are expected to rise as global demand for these metals increases.
In response to the escalation of thefts, EPS and EPF are announcing the Catalytic Converter Challenge, which will utilize the Community Solutions Accelerator (CSA) to seek ideas and technological innovations from the public to help solve the problem. The challenge offers up to $50,000 for a viable solution through the generous support of the Millennium Insurance Corporation.
“Sometimes a seed just needs a little water, and there are some great ideas that just need to be infused with the right investment and support to grow into something benefitting everyone,” says Ashif Mawji, Chair of the Edmonton Police Foundation. “Our first CSA challenge helped reduce thefts in local liquor stores by over 95%, so we have high hopes that the global innovator community will bring forward another successful solution.”
EPS and the EPF were the first to bring the CSA approach to policing in North America in 2020. The CSA leverages expertise, data, technology, and support from multiple sources to work collectively on challenges that have been identified by the community, social agencies, healthcare, and law-enforcement.
The Catalytic Converter Challenge provides a unique opportunity and incentive for a citizen, inventor, or entrepreneur to reduce crime and victimization not only in their community but potentially around the world.
Chief McFee adds, “More must be done to protect vehicle owners from this costly crime, and this challenge will help generate the ideas and innovations needed to reduce auto part crime and ultimately provide peace of mind.”
For more information or to enter the challenge, please visit www.herox.com/catalytic. The deadline for entries is Nov. 30, 2022, and the winner will be announced after judges review all submissions.