London: the epicentre of catalytic converter thefts
Catalytic Converter thefts continue to rise across not only London but also England. The component is attached to the front of the exhaust system and contains several precious metals that convert poisonous emissions into less toxic gases. Their high scrap value tempts thieves to venture beneath cars and cut them off, with those fitted to hybrid vehicles being more at risk, because they use a greater quantity of expensive catalysts. Vehicles that possess a higher ground clearance pose easier pickings, so be on your guard, if you own an SUV, or 4×4.
Comparing the 2019/20 theft figures against those of 2018/19, GoCompare reports that Warrington saw the largest increase in catalytic converter thefts, although the numbers involved remain relatively small. Wolverhampton, Coventry, Middlesbrough and Cambridge also saw notable increases in theft rates. Unsurprisingly, due to the higher population densities, London recorded the highest theft numbers (15,237 since 2017), a figure which falls dramatically to 320 for Birmingham, the second most afflicted city.
According to Tracker, you can protect your vehicle, especially should you leave it unattended over the holidays. The following tips are worth considering:
- Find a safe and secure spot in which to park. A locked garage is ideal but, should this be impossible, prioritise a well-lit area that is in clear view.
- You can consider fitting cameras, should the car be parked on your drive, but angle it carefully. Otherwise, seek-out an area with good quality public CCTV. An issue, however, is that many thieves are unidentifiable but you may be able to make out details of their getaway vehicle.
- If your car possesses air suspension, select the lowest setting when parking to make it harder to access the catalytic converter. It is inadvisable to install equipment that would alert you to confront the thieves, especially as their metal cutting equipment could be put to alternative use as weapons.
- further alternative is to install catalytic converter security. This either marks the unit (as pictured), or provides a physical barrier, through which the thief must cut, in order to gain access to the exhaust.