BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A report conducted by a public data company showed that catalytic converter thefts in Louisiana have increased from 27 in 2019 to 800 in 2022.

BeenVerfied’s report said that in 2019, 3,389 thefts nationwide were reported to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. In 2021, the number of reports drastically increased to 14,433.

“The spike in catalytic converter theft started around the beginning of the pandemic, as thieves looked for a quick way to make a buck,” said BeenVerified Consumer Advocate Kerry Sherin. “The price of each of these precious metals surged throughout the early days of the pandemic as supplies became short across the globe. As more Americans began working from home, that meant more vacant, unused or otherwise unwatched cars for thieves to target on the street and in driveways.”

Sherin said that catalytic converters are stolen because they use valuable precious metals like platinum, rhodium and palladium, which is what thieves are after.

“Catalytic converters are stolen to make a profit off the valuable precious metals inside,” Sherin said. “Most often, thieves will attempt to resell to recyclers for between $50 and $250 per part.”

Data from BeenVerfieid said that catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed 2862.96% in Louisiana in three years.

“We don’t have the most popular cars in Louisiana specifically, but nationwide, the most popular cars by make and model that were targeted include the Toyota Prius, Honda Element, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Tacoma and Honda Accord,” Sherin said.

Catalytic converters are expensive to replace. Sherin said that victims of these thefts can end up paying in the thousands.

“Ultimately, it will depend on the make and model of your car to determine how much it will cost to replace. If a car owner has one of the riskier vehicles noted earlier, they might want to consider getting comprehensive coverage to protect themselves from out-of-pocket repair expenses, should they fall victim to this crime,” Sherin said.

Sherin gave the following tips on how drivers can prevent catalytic converter theft:

  • Engrave your vehicle VIN and phone number into your catalytic converter
  • Consider installing a catalytic converter anti-theft device in your vehicle, such as a cable cage or clamp
  • Make your car alarm more sensitive and consider motion alarms under your vehicle