The cost of precious metals has spiked during the pandemic, and in turn, so has the theft of the catalytic converters from cars, as they contain rhodium and platinum which can fetch high prices on the black market. Ageas Insurance (one of our insurance partners) said recently that theft of catalytic converters accounted for almost a third of all private car theft crimes reported to them for the first three months of 2021.
You might be thinking that if more people are staying at home and their vehicles outside their properties or on the driveway, how come the sudden increase? People at home as been little deterrent for thieves as these precious metals are worth more than gold and can easily be sold on. You may have seen videos of people carrying out the thefts in broad day light, some of them in as little as a minute before driving off.
But there’s ways you can protect yourself against this risk:
- If you have a garage, it is advisable to park your car in it and ensure it is locked. Whilst it’s tempting to just park your car on the driveway during the day, remember that the majority of these thefts are happening in broad daylight whilst people are at home – they don’t even know it has been stolen until they drive their car
- If you don’t have a garage, park in a well lit or well-populated area. Again if you’re at home for the majority of the time at the moment, it may be worth investing in some additional measures such as security lights, CCTV cameras or video doorbells etc.
- Avoid parking two wheel on a path – the tilted car will give opportunist thieves easier access to the underside of your vehicle
- If parking in a public car park, try to find a space where you can park your bonnet facing a wall as this will make it more tricky to get too, especially if cars are parked either side of yours.
- You could ask your local garage to weld the bolts (that hold the converter in place) so it would make it much more difficult to remove
- Speak to your dealership about a Thatcham alarm and tilt device which will be triggered if a thief tried to jack up your car.
- If you’re part of a neighbourhood watch scheme, make your neighbours aware so they can keep an eye out for any unusual or suspicious behaviour and report it to the police