Police in B.C. warn catalytic converter thefts on the rise

Click to play video: 'Catalytic converter thefts spike in parts of B.C.'
Catalytic converter thefts spike in parts of B.C.
WATCH: Police in at least two regions in B.C. say thefts of catalytic converters are spiking again. Jasmine Bala has the sobering numbers and the details on an innovative new program in other provinces aimed at combatting the crime wave – Jan 12, 2023

Police in B.C. have renewed their concerns regarding catalytic converter thefts on the South Coast.

Police in Delta and on Vancouver Island are warning the public about a recent sharp increase in thefts.

Read more: Calgary police partner with Kal Tire to engrave catalytic converters

Click to play video: 'Renewed concerns about catalytic converter thefts'
Renewed concerns about catalytic converter thefts

The problems have been well documented in the bigger municipalities like Surrey and Vancouver but even smaller communities are facing challenges.

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RCMP in North Saanich Sidney put out a warning Wednesday.

And in Delta, during the first 11 days of 2023, 33 catalytic converters have been boosted — equating to three a day.

Police said in the last five years the crime has morphed from a handful of prolific offenders to a much more widespread problem.

“We would arrest two or three prolific (catalytic converter thieves) and the numbers would go down by 20 to 30 per cent right away,” said Surrey RCMP Const. Hwan Lee.

“Now, those kinds of arrests have a very little impact on the overall numbers (of thefts).”

Read more: Catalytic converter thefts are surging again. So what is being done to stop them?

It’s a similar story in neighbouring Alberta but police there have rolled out a possible prevention tool.

In Calgary, Kal Tire shops are working with police to inscribe the vehicle information on the catalytic converter itself.

“Phones are off the hook,” said Alex Earl, a Kal Tire spokesperson.

“Customers are trying to get in to get the service done as quickly as possible.”

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Calgary police said the idea was adopted from other provinces, which have successfully mitigated thefts with the engraving program.

“We’ve seen other engraving programs in other provinces and they have been quite successful in preventing thefts,” said Const. Brent Podesky, a Calgary police officer.

Police in B.C. said they recommended implementing the program in the province but said the laws need to change for a formal program.

B.C. is instead relying on self-reporting from scrap yards to curb resales.

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