How To Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft in Kern County

Molly Busacca
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Over the past five years, catalytic converters have become the most sought-after car part among thieves. According to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter theft in the U.S. has more than doubled every year since 2018. 

The pandemic has been a time of record car part theft in Los Angeles, with 5,020 reports of auto part theft filed in 2021 according to publicly available data from the LAPD. Their data cites auto part theft in upscale communities such as Westlake and San Pedro; closer to home, Bakersfield has been subject to so many catalytic converter thefts that the city has considered adopting an ordinance to address the problem. 

Why Catalytic Converters are Valuable

Catalytic converters are auto part devices that reduce harmful chemical compounds from engine emissions by converting them into a steam gas that is safer for the air. The conversion happens by way of a chamber (the catalyst) that breaks up the unsafe molecules in the emitted gasses before they’re released into the air. 

Catalytic converters are valuable to thieves because they contain the precious metals platinum, rhodium and palladium. To underscore the value of these metals, consider the spot price of palladium reached an all-time high in May 2021 when it sold for $3,005 an ounce. As of spring 2022, the values of the precious metals contained inside catalytic converters was: 

  • Rhodium – $20,000 per ounce
  • Palladium – $2,938 per ounce
  • Platinum – $1,128 per ounce 


Ways to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft 

A thief who knows what to do can retrieve a catalytic converter from the underside of a car in a matter of minutes. The thief’s next step is to sell it to a scrap yard or a party in search of car parts. The mainstream online marketplace has made the process of selling stolen auto parts easier than ever, including catalytic converters. Here are some measures you can take to help prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen. 

Be smart about parking. 

Park your vehicle in well-lit areas, whether at home or in public. At home, invest in motion-sensitive lights and home security cameras that monitor your driveway and street. In public spaces, park close to high-traffic entrances. If your car will be at one location for a long period of time (i.e. from morning until evening), consider moving it during the day so thieves are deterred from targeting it. 

Install an anti-theft device. 

Now more than ever, there’s a wide selection of affordable, effective anti-theft devices on the market. Take the time to research which one is best for your vehicle and install it promptly. It’s a nominal investment to protect an auto part that may cost you up to $3,000 to replace.   

Paint your catalytic converter. 

A painted catalytic converter is a red flag to thieves. Thieves know that savvy buyers will understand the part was painted by the rightful owner, and many of them will pass on the opportunity to purchase stolen goods. Because of the high catalytic converter theft in Kern County, Bakersfield Police has held events where catalytic converter painting was offered for free. 

Catalytic converter theft is a serious problem, but there are measures you can take to protect your property. To discuss how you can protect your catalytic converter from theft with home security cameras in Bakersfield or Kern County, call Secure Systems today. 

About Secure Systems 

Secure Systems is a Bakersfield alarm company that installs alarms for homes and businesses. We also install residential camera systems and business camera systems, commercial and residential fire alarm systems, wireless monitoring, remote access alarm systems, access control and door buzzers in Bakersfield and Kern County. Call us today at (661) 326-1747.