You may be aware of the sharp increase in catalytic converter thefts that have been happening across the county since late 2022. These were initially occurring in large, public, carparks, but more recently these are happening on residential streets, to cars parked on both the road and driveways. Norwich, South Norfolk, West Norfolk and Breckland have been hit particularly hard, but there is the potential that thieves could strike at any street across the county’s villages, towns and city.
Car brands particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter thefts are Toyota and Honda. These tend to have higher quality catalytic converters which are less corroded and contain more of the precious metals thieves want to sell on. This is reflected in the crime reports we have received over the last few months and it is Toyotas and Hondas that have overwhelmingly been targeted. This is not to say that other car makes will not be at risk; others have had their catalytic converters stolen and all owners should be mindful.
There are some things you can do to help protect your catalytic converter:
- Speak to your local dealership/garage about getting a catloc device fitted. These cannot guarantee 100% protection but can act as a deterrent and make it far harder for thieves to steal your catalytic converter.
- Look into getting your catalytic converter marked with a serial number or forensically marked with a product such as Smartwater. While this will not stop a theft, if a stolen catalytic converter is found, it can be traced back to its owner and any linked crime.
It might not be possible for owners to get their catalytic converters marked for a number of reasons, and so most importantly, we are encouraging vigilance. Signs of a (potential) catalytic converter theft are:
- Suspicious activity around a car or street (think unrecognisable people who appear to be scouting out the car or area).
- A car being jacked up.
- The loud sound of metal being cut.
If you see this in action, please call 999 immediately. Avoid approaching any individuals, If you can, please note down descriptions of any suspects and the vehicles they use, including the number plate. If you discover your catalytic converter has been stolen after the event, please report this to Police via 101 or online reporting as soon as possible.