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Theft of Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converter theft continues to be a crime of opportunity that costs citizens and businesses millions of dollars each year.

In 2022, catalytic converter thefts cost Edmontonians nearly $20 million, which was up from previous years, and thefts rose by more than 80% between 2020 and 2022.

The increasing number of thefts appear to follow the increasing value of precious metals on global markets, specifically the rhodium, palladium, and platinum found within catalytic converters that can be recycled for profit.

While a thief might receive $200 for a stolen catalytic converter from a scrap metal recycler, the vehicle owner can be out $2,000 or more for repairs.  This can be over $10,000 for commercial vehicles as thieves often target industrial areas and fleet parking lots with the same frequency as residential areas. 

EPS is involved in numerous crime prevention strategies to reduce the number of thefts, including a partnership with the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) and Kal Tire on the “Tag Your Cat” VIN engraving program.

For a minimal fee, vehicle owners can bring their car, truck, or van into a participating Kal Tire location to have their catalytic converter engraved with the vehicle identification number (VIN).  Every vehicle also receives a warning decal to let thieves know that the auto part is marked, and if it is stolen, it can be traced back to the crime and harder to sell. 

Police have seen significant decreases in catalytic converter thefts where VIN engraving programs have been implemented, but there are other ways that vehicle owners can protect themselves from catalytic converter theft as well.


Tips to Help Prevent Theft

  • Park in a spot that makes it hard for thieves to crawl underneath your vehicle.  Park in a locked garage if possible and find a well-lit spot when parking outside.
  • Consider adding a security camera to your residence or business so you can keep an eye on your vehicle and other property.
  • Get your catalytic converter engraved with your VIN to deter thieves and help police trace it if stolen.
  • Speak with your mechanic about anti-theft options like vibration-triggered car alarms, cages, clamps, shield plates, and welds that make it difficult to remove the catalytic converter.
  • Report suspicious persons or crimes in progress to police immediately.  If your catalytic converter is stolen, let police know if it is engraved.

External Links

AMA / Kal Tire Catalytic Converter Engraving Program