Police in Harrow recorded the lowest crime rate of all London Boroughs in June, as officers raise awareness to vehicle owners after a recent theft of catalytic converters from vehicles.
It appears that those who steal these catalytic converters often target larger vehicles such as people carriers, 4×4’s, or commercial vans. It’s believed that this is because the ground clearance makes it easier to access the underside of the vehicle to access the exhaust system. Also, the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the catalytic converter on it.
The theft of the converter only nets the offender a small amount of money, however, the cost to the owner to replace the item can run into several hundred pounds, particularly if substantial damage has been caused to the vehicle by the removal of the converter.
A/Sergeant Jamie Kay from Harrow Police said, “Harrow is one of the safest boroughs in London and we want to ensure that our communities are and their property are not targeted by catalytic convertor thieves. #
“Accordingly, we urge vehicle owners to be vigilant and consider adopting some or all of the measures shown below to help protect their vehicle against this type of theft. By working together, we can continue to make Harrow even safer.”
Etching a catalytic converters with a serial number will help police track a stolen converter to a specific injured party and overtly advertising that a vehicle is protected by property marking may also deter offenders as it will potentially reduce the opportunities for selling on the converters at reputable scrap metal dealers.
If a catalytic converter is a “bolt on” it is possible to have the bolts welded shut. This is only a deterrent to the lowest grade of catalytic converter thief working with a spanner but may still be enough of a deterrent to help prevent a theft.
Catalytic Converter Protective Sleeves
Protective coverings are quite expensive but make it much more difficult for the saw wielding thief to steal catalyticconverters.
If it is possible to block the high-clearance vehicles by utilising natural structures such as walls etc and low clearance vehicles to help prevent access underneath, this will help prevent access to the vulnerable area of the vehicle and at the very least slow the thieves down making the target less attractive.
Effective Security Lighting
Good security lighting can make vehicles more visible and improve natural surveillance. External dusk to dawn lighting which automatically stays on during the hours of darkness and goes off as it starts to get light in areas where there is good surveillance from other people, makes the target less attractive.
CCTV / Alarms
The installation of CCTV to cover parking areas can help reduce theft. Remote monitored CCTV could even stop catalyticconverter theft before it happens if the monitoring centre can notify the police in real time as an offence takes place. The use of driveway alarms can help alert you to anyone trespassing on your property.
Fencing is the first line of defence for most business parking areas and regular checks of fences for damage, ensuring any holes etc are quickly and properly repaired will help deter the opportunistic catalytic thief. There are many types of security fencing and increasing the protection afforded by this feature will help prevent or at least slow down the more organised thief.
Anyone with any information regarding catalytic converters thefts is asked to contact police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.