Catalytic Converter Theft Skyrockets:
Up 325% in One Year

Premiere Services News

Catalytic converter theft is increasing at a staggering pace and victims of this crime are faced with the unexpected costs which, in some cases, can be thousands of dollars.

According to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the drastic rise in catalytic converter thefts across the nation has been shocking.  In 2018, there were 1,298 catalytic converter theft claims filed.  In 2019, that number increased by 161% to 3,389.  In 2020, the number of claims jumped a staggering 325% to 14,433.

Catalytic Converter Theft Claims in 2018
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Catalytic Converter Theft Claims in 2019
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Catalytic Converter Theft Claims in 2020
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Why do thieves target catalytic converters?  The answer is simple: they contain extremely valuable precious metals and generally speaking, this part is very easy to steal from most vehicles and can be worth anywhere between $50 - $250 each. 

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Phoenix Police Find 1,200 Stolen Catalytic Converters

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This device, which is situated in a vehicle's exhaust system, is used to convert environmentally hazardous exhaust into less harmful gasses.  To accomplish this, catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium and/or rhodium and the price of these rare and precious metals has skyrocketed in recent years.

As of this writing, the price of these precious metals is as follows:

  • Rhodium: $14,900 per ounce
  • Palladium: $2,016 per ounce
  • Platinum: $904 per ounce

To put that into perspective, the price of gold currently sits at $1,766.

Stolen catalytic converters in a storage unit seized by Phoenix Police on May 27, 2022.<br />Image courtesy of Phoenix Police Department via Associated Press
Stolen catalytic converters in a storage unit seized by Phoenix Police on May 27, 2022.
Image courtesy of Phoenix Police Department via Associated Press

The number of thefts of these devices is expected to continue to increase so long as the value of these precious metals remains high.  According to the NICB, there is an unequivocal connection between supply chain disruptions, limited resources and times of crisis and desperation which is driving the drastic increase in thefts, not just in America but throughout the world.

On January 13, 2022, United States Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN-4) introduced the "Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act." The intent of the Act is to reduce the number of catalytic converter thefts by adding identifying information to the device, addressing how the parts are purchased and strengthening enforceability for local law enforcement.

Only time will tell whether or not this will help reduce the number of thefts that are plaguing the nation and insurance companies across the country.  In the meantime, we have put together a helpful list of tips to help car owners to prevent catalytic converter theft.

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