Staffordshire Police is issuing updated vehicle safety advice when it comes to deterring catalytic convertor thieves.
With incidents continuing to be reported across the county, the message continues to be to “stay alert” and “be vigilant” when it comes to avoiding becoming another victim.
Catalytic converter thieves can remove the devices from your vehicle in a matter of minutes and leave you to foot the bill.
Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles such as Toyotas and Hondas as these have two power sources, so the catalytic converter is used less frequently. The precious metals that make them appealing to thieves are therefore less likely to corrode.
Hybrid cars, vans and SUVs are particularly at risk, as their height makes access to the catalytic convertor easier.
To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen, you should:
- Park your car in a locked garage where possible. But if this isn’t an option, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area, ideally covered by CCTV.
- If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing your bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it.
- Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter.
- If there is a fleet of vehicles, park the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles. This will obstruct access underneath.
- For thefts occurring on driveways, consider the use of a Secured by Design (SBD)-approved driveway alarm and sensor. This may assist in alerting you of a potential intruder entering your driveway or garden.
- If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
- Alternatively, you can ask a trained mechanic mark your catalytic converter. Please ensure any property marking is Secured by Design (SBD)-approved.
- You can purchase a ‘cage clamp’ – a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove. Toyota are offering a ‘Catloc’ for their Prius (third generation, 2009-to-2011 models) and Auris (second generation, 2012-to-2018 models). Please contact your Toyota dealership for more information.
- Speak to your dealership about the possibility of installing a Thatcham-approved alarm and tilt sensor that will activate should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter.
- If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to Staffordshire Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations and makes and models of vehicles should they be using cloned plates.
Chief Inspector David Wain, Staffordshire Police’s senior investigating officer for this type of crime, said: “It’s important for members of the public to stay alert.
“We need people’s help to tackle this issue so we ask that they look out for this type of activity and record descriptions – noting down anything that could be useful to us. Try to obtain any key information such as registration numbers of vehicles carrying offenders and makes and models in case the plates have been changed.
“We would urge anybody who witnesses an incident taking place to call 999 immediately. Often offenders will raise a targeted vehicle on a jack to get to the catalytic convertor. We would like to remind people that the tools they carry for such offences are dangerous to others so we would encourage people not to approach them and to call 999 if the crime is in progress.
“If the offenders have already left please use the Staffordshire Police Facebook or Twitter pages to report incidents.”
Anyone with any information about incidents should message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter, or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you witness an offence taking place, contact 999 when safe to do so.