The National Association of Automobile Dealers (NADA) and a dozen related trade groups are appealing to Congress to crack down on stolen catalytic converters. Emission control devices are loaded with precious metals and are relatively easy to steal if you are thin enough to get under a parked car and you have a reciprocating saw on hand, making them the main targets for money-bound criminals, especially now that material prices grow.
Cities across the country are reporting an increase in catalyst thefts this year. While most police departments estimate growth of less than 40 percent over last year, some say their numbers are much higher. In March, the Las Vegas Police Department estimated that in 2022, there were 87 percent more cars with broken exhaust pipes. Philadelphia was even higher, reporting a staggering 172 percent increase in the number of dismantled exhaust systems.
Dealers are insane because they are one of the easiest targets. Their plots are easily accessible, allowing thieves to knock down several vehicles in minutes before taking the goods to a landfill.
According to Automotive news, NADA and friends enough. On Monday, the group sent a letter to the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties to the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Trade requesting a hearing on Theft Prevention Act (part)..
“These thefts cost millions of dollars to both businesses and vehicle owners,” the group wrote in a letter to Frank Palone (D-NJ), a committee chair, and Katie McMorris Rogers (R-WA), a Republican. rating member. “In addition, replacing the catalytic converter is expensive and often difficult due to the sharp increase in demand for parts and the lack of a supply chain.”
From Automotive news:
Other groups that signed the letter included the National Independent Association of Car Dealers, the American Car Rental Association, the American Truck Dealers, the American Trucking Association, the National Insurance Bureau, and the National Association of RV Dealers.
In the US, catalytic converters are stealing at an ever-increasing rate because they contain expensive precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium and are difficult to track.
The National Bureau for Combating Insurance Crime said that in 2020, there were 14,433 thefts of catalytic converters in the United States – figures were available for the past year – compared to 3,389 cases in 2019. In 2018, only 1,298 thefts were registered.
Although they can be sold for a few hundred bucks, replacing one usually costs the car owner several thousand. As a result, we have begun to see repair shops offering security services where they surround the relevant equipment with rings of steel cables that would be difficult to cut. The theory here is that thieves will ignore any catalytic converter, which will take more than a couple of minutes to turn off.
The PART Act was introduced in January by spokesman Jim Baird (R-IN) and will introduce new regulations through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requiring all vehicles to be stamped by VIN on a converter. This information will then be made available to “relevant entities” that include car dealerships, law enforcement, service centers, and unspecified nonprofits.
While the rule would theoretically make it easier for police to track stolen converters to their places of origin, criminals can simply scrape a number, as they do in movies, when someone needs to use a firearm in a crime. Converters dismantled for interior materials will also not be used for discarded exterior enclosures. The right to move for repairs has already announced possible problems with repairs with their own hands and people who buy parts at landfills. Although there was no official opposition to the bill yet.
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