What has the pandemic got to do with catalytic converter thefts? Well, during the pandemic, Denver has seen a whopping figure of 1600% year over year increase in the catalytic converter thefts. Does it get worse than this? Yes, they say.
After starting their car, several residents suddenly found themselves listening to what is a typical 'Harley Davidson sound.' There was a time when the theft of the emission control device from underneath the car was not so rampant, unless in cars parked unattended or for a long period of time at a relatively deserted spot.
For those who are experts, it takes just five to 10 minutes with the right tools to steal a catalytic converter. The police said that such thefts are increasingly becoming common and surging across the nation, especially in the area of Denver.
The statistics are a cause of concern
As per the data obtained from Denver Police Department, in 2019 residents reported 15 thefts of catalytic converters. This figure grew to 257 in 2020. Talk of 2021, by the end of January, as many as 108 catalytic converters have been reported stolen.
The parts are easily stolen and sold in the local areas for a few hundred dollars, but to those having to replace the catalytic converters in their cars, it can cost as much as $2,000.
Not just a US phenomenon
Stolen catalytic converters aren't just on the rise but are rampant across many nations. Just around last week, Irish police force, Gardai seized 110 catalytic converters, including large sums of cash in Euro and Sterling currencies, during a search operation in Co. Meath. This search operation was a part of ongoing investigation into the theft of catalytic converters in Dublin and surrounding areas.
Tough times and increase in crimes
Given the steep rise in numbers, the thefts have come under a widespread scanner. Many social analysts have been quick to point out, how a similar surge was reported in 2008, when recession hit the country badly. Desperate times lead to desperate measures and people resort to theft, they say.
What's the way out
Right from going in for stricter controls to ensure thieves don't get away with the theft to controlling the market where such stolen parts are sold, there are many ways of curb the crime. "Metal processing companies which accept scrap metal for processing should be required to verify the identity of the suppliers. Material which may have been stolen should be preserved until Gardai give permission before processing. Catalytic converters are only a part of stolen metal," wrote a user.
While another suggested that there should be a cage put on the part to make it harder for theives the next time.