Is Catalytic Converter Crime Spike Over?

Thu 12th Aug 2021

Police forces across the UK are being praised after a crackdown on crime gangs and an increase in tracking technology has seen the rise in catalytic converter thefts fall in the last few months.

Crafty criminals had led a crimewave in disappearing CATS after they realised that the elements and precious metals within a catalytic converter had a high value on the black market. The theft of the car parts from underneath many older vehicles took less than a few minutes leaving many car owners with thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Thefts had reached a crisis point earlier this year when 3,245 catalytic converters were stolen in the month of March. This led to a concerted effort by the police to hit the crime gangs, but also saw an increase in preventative measures such as watermarking the valuable emission-reducing devices. Last month the number of thefts had dramatically fallen to just 1,378 across the UK.

The British Transport Police led a multi-agency fightback against criminals, making more than 50 arrests and also recovering in excess of 1,000 catalytic converters. In May, one of the world’s biggest car brands, Toyota announced a £1m scheme to watermark all older vehicles in its franchised garages, the Toyota Prius was one of the most sought after vehicles due to the Hybrid having a less worn out engine.

“It's pleasing to see that we are already seeing positive results from this multi-agency operation, however we know that there is still a long way to go,” said Jenny Simms, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime.
“Policing and law enforcement agencies will continue to work with manufacturers and other partners to focus on catalytic converter theft and ensure that this crime, perceived as low risk/high-reward is relentlessly targeted, and offenders are brought to justice.”