The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), is urging Texas legislators to take steps to address the significant increase in catalytic converter thefts across the state.
Texas is in the top five of states with the most catalytic converter thefts, the NICB said.
NICB is backing House Bill 4110, which would increase requirements on sellers of catalytic converters, impose due diligence obligations upon metal recycling entities, and increase penalties for knowingly engaging in fraudulent practices related to catalytic converter purchases.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a drastic increase in auto crimes to include a rise in catalytic converter thefts, and Texas continues to be at the top of the list,” David Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB said in a media release.
According to NICB’s Operations, Intelligence and Analytics study of reported thefts, there were 108 catalytic converter thefts per month on average in 2018, 282 average monthly thefts in 2019, and 1,203 average thefts per month in 2020.
During this time-period, the top five states for catalytic converter thefts were California, Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Illinois. In 2020, there was a continual climb in thefts. January had the fewest number of thefts at 652, but it continued to climb markedly throughout the year, with December having 2,347 thefts.
A catalytic converter is a device that looks like a small muffler along with the exhaust system. It is designed to convert the environmentally hazardous exhaust emitted by an engine into less harmful gasses.
To do this, manufacturers use platinum, palladium, and rhodium. In recent years, the values of these precious metals have skyrocketed.
As of December 2020, rhodium was valued at $14,500 per ounce, palladium at $2,336 per ounce, and platinum going for $1,061 per ounce. Typically, recyclers will pay $50 to $250 per catalytic converter.
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