Catalytic converter theft is more common during pandemic, here’s what you can do

In light of recent events, there has been an uptick in catalytic converter theft around the world. In fact, compared to 2020, catalytic converter theft has increased by 300% in cities like Houston, Texas. On top of that, the National Insurance Crime Bureau says there’s been a surge in catalytic converter thefts since 2018, with more than 14,000 converters being stolen in 2020. That’s nearly a ten-fold increase.

A catalytic converter is a component located underneath all vehicles manufactured after 1975, in between the muffler and engine. Although the catalytic converter section of the exhaust system may seem unappealing, thieves will cut them out for the precious metals inside like palladium, rhodium, and platinum. While the “street value” of a catalytic converter can range between a mere $100 to $700 depending on the type of vehicle it’s stolen from, replacing a stolen one will cost you a lot more. With labor, a catalytic converter replacement is estimated at between $1,000 and $3,000.

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Although catalytic converter theft has been happening for decades, recent events have caused these parts to drastically increase in price. Between stricter car emissions regulations and slower mining of metals contained in catalytic converters due to the pandemic — the cost and demand of converters has increased dramatically. To elaborate, the price of palladium has risen from $500 to $2,500 an ounce and rhodium has increased from $640 to $21,900 an ounce. According to New York Times, these precious metals are significantly higher than the price of gold, which costs around $1,800 an ounce today.

Additionally, with the rise in gas prices, some individuals are even having their gasoline stolen right out of their vehicles — like this guy from Georgia.

So how do you prevent catalytic converter theft or any tampering with your personal or company vehicles for that matter?

Identifying the perpetrators

While taking steps to ensure that your catalytic converter is harder to steal is a good way to deter theft, you’ll still be concerned that someone was trying to either break into your vehicle or cut something off of it. Some people consider welding their converter onto their vehicle’s frame or welding the converter bolts in to make it more difficult to remove. However, this can lead to more expensive repairs in the future — after all, catalytic converters only last about 10 years.

While installing motion lights near where your car is parked or always parking near well-lit areas is a great way to deter thieves, it’s possible that these individuals will just move on to the next easier target for a quick buck. This leads us to our best option in preventing catalytic converter theft while making your community a safer place for everyone — security cameras.

Well-placed security cameras and even signage that signifies “you are on video surveillance” is a great start for deterring thieves from even going near your vehicles.

But not just any security cameras you pick up at Walmart or Amazon.com will do the trick — although these cameras can work great as a deterrent. The most valuable service a security camera can provide you is a clear enough image of the perpetrator, their vehicle’s license plate, and any other identifying information after a crime has been attempted or committed.

After all, what good is knowing someone was on your property when you can’t do anything with the footage?

Fairly priced, professionally installed security cameras

Why hire a professional to install security cameras when Amazon or similar retailers advertise DIY security products? Between getting the best equipment, easiest integration, best placement and shot framing, installation with professional tools, sufficient testing, technical support when something goes wrong, and less liability — the reasons for choosing a professional installer are valid.

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A good professional security installer has access to the best equipment and supply chain available on the professional market. While DIY systems are getting better, nothing beats professional-grade security systems. And when you choose a professional installer, you’re not going to pay full price.

While placement may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to security cameras, there are a lot more factors that professionals put into consideration that most consumers would never give thought to. Obstructions close to the cameras, improper lighting circumstances, and poor camera type selection are all problems you could run into without a professional by your side. This type of technical knowledge can only be obtained through experience in professional security installation. In fact, with the right installer and existing system, you can even integrate new cameras into existing infrastructure.

Even if you have the best workshop, odds are you don’t have the full scope of tools that the best professional installers have in their arsenal. The pros have the equipment necessary to get the job done properly and efficiently — like portable camera testers, monitors, extension ladders, the necessary drill bits, pull sticks for running cables, tools for making ethernet connectors, and much more. Don’t make the mistake of installing a DIY security system unless you have the experience necessary and the time and money to spend.

What if something goes wrong with your cameras? Security camera issues are common, especially with an old or DIY security system. When you experience video loss on your DIY system, you won’t have anyone to call for help. Between insufficient power, power spikes or interference, weak wifi connection or low bandwidth, faulty infrared sensors, problems with cables, and other hardware or firmware problems — we’ve seen it all. Unfortunately, most of these problems aren’t easily identified and are even harder to alleviate if you don’t have experience with professional security equipment.

Perhaps the biggest problem you may run into if you decide to choose your own security system, and install it yourself, is the liability that comes with that decision. If anything happens to your DIY system, you and you alone are liable for solving the issue and paying for the fix. You’ll have to distinguish whether the problem is with the equipment or the installation, and you may even have to wait for equipment to be repaired or troubleshot by the original manufacturer. However, when you partner with a company like Camera Security Now, you’ll have a trusted installer who will assist you with camera selection, placement, troubleshooting, and solving any issues that arise throughout the ownership of your security system — often at little or no additional cost. 

The real money is saved by finding a trusted source for equipment and service that will be as consistent in five to ten years as it is today.