Shedding Light on the Growing Issue of Catalytic Converter Theft
By Melissa Somers, CPP SoCal Executive Director
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein
Catalytic converter thefts are all over the news. Anyone that’s been a victim of a converter theft will easily recall the sinking feeling of starting their vehicle and instead of the normal purr of an engine, it sounds like a helicopter. They’ll also likely to tell you about the hassle and cost of getting a replacement. If you haven’t had one (or some) stolen by now, chances are you know someone who has. Catalytic converter thefts are up some 400% over last year and are expected to continue increasing by as much as 30% over the next few years, making it very clear that it’s not only a big
problem, but that it’s also one that isn’t going away – unless we take action. It’s safe to guess that most of us have a vague understanding that our vehicles need their catalytic converters and that crooks are stealing them for money. We might hear on the nightly news that one reason why converter theft is blowing up is that for the crooks stealing them, it’s a low risk / high reward way to make a quick buck. In order to have an impact or effect change, a more comprehensive understanding of the issue in its entirety, and potential solutions, is a must.
Catalytic Converters 101
Since the mid-1970’s catalytic converters are a standard part of your vehicle’s exhaust system. They contain precious metals that help filter out toxins – and these precious metals are worth some big bucks. Converters contain platinum, rhodium, and palladium – all of which are part of the PGM or Platinum Group Metals. These PGM’s are currently going for a whopping $1,189 – $25,850 per OUNCE. The worldwide accessibility of these metals is dwindling and challenged by a number of factors – dwindling supply, geopolitical economics and world environment – making recycling them a costeffective option that is also less regulated than mining. Certain cars are targeted because they’re known to contain higher levels or larger quantity of these precious metals.
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