KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 14, 2022
By Natalie Cook Clark
Catalytic Converter thefts continue to rise in the Katy-area. AAA reports that thefts are up 5,300% since 2019 with Harris County and Fort Bend County topping the Texas county list.
Screenshot from KISD video.
Data Shows Crime Continues to Rise
According to AAA, new auto claims data reports that there has been a 5,300% rise in catalytic converter thefts since 2019. This has been a rising crime that Katy Magazine has often reported on, sharing the stories of local people who have experienced it.
Katy residents have experienced catalytic converter theft at home, often times with home security cameras catching the act, but really no place is safe.
"Criminals target often target parking lots, strip centers, and restaurants," says Robert Henslee with Precinct 5. "They look for places where people are occupied."
Last school year, thieves targeted Katy ISD parking lots.
“There has been a notable uptick in catalytic converter theft across the country,” says Maria DiPetta, manager of Katy ISD media relations/spokesperson, who says that all Katy ISD campus parking lots are fitting with surveillance cameras.
Katy ISD Shares Tips
“The District’s police department actively patrols areas and provides preventative tips and measures to help protect students, staff and patrons from being victimized by this crime,” add DiPetta.
Katy Magazine readers report recent catalytic converter thefts at Kohl’s, Whiskey Cake, Cinemark, Katy Mills, Westland Church, Metro Park-n-ride and other Katy locations.
What is a Catalytic Converter?
Katy residents continue to see a rise in these crimes. A catalytic converter is a device used to reduce exhaust emissions from your vehicle. They are most commonly used on internal combustion engines fueled by petrol or diesel.
They are high theft items because they are valuable to scrap metal dealers. They contain precious metals, including rhodium, platinum, and palladium that can all be sold.
Top Targeted Vehicles
Some of the top cars targeted are: Toyota Tundra, Toyota Prius, Toyota Tacoma, Ford F-250, Honda Element and CRV just to name some.
"Large Toyota trucks are often targeted for their converters because of the amount of platinum and ease of access," explains Henslee.
“When they are stolen the damage can be costly,” says Sgt. Tracy Hicks with Houston Police Department. He reported that damage to a Toyota Tundra cost over $10,000 to repair.
Park your car in a well-lit area and if all possible keep it in your garage.
Spray the converter with bright, high temperature paint to mark it. This will help authorities and shops ID stolen converters.
When in a parking lot, park near the store and not near the exit. Criminals will look for an easy exit.
Engrave your license plate number or the last 4 digits of your VIN on the converter to help authorities ID it.
There are devices such as a plate that you can attach to the bottom of your vehicle to restrict access to the converter.