(New Castle, DE 19720) The New Castle County Division of Police is reminding citizens that thieves are stealing catalytic converters from cars at an increasing rate.

According to a report by National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the increase in catalytic converter thefts has been dramatic. Since January of 2022, the Division is reporting approximately 175 thefts in New Castle County alone.

A catalytic converter is a device that looks like a small muffler along the exhaust system. It is designed to convert the environmentally hazardous exhaust emitted by the engine and convert them into less harmful gasses. To do this, they use platinum, palladium, or rhodium. In recent years, however, the values of these precious metals have skyrocketed.

As the value of the precious metals remains high, so does the number of thefts of these devices. There is a clear connection between times of crisis, limited resources, and disruption of the supply chain that drives these thefts.

There are some measures that can be taken to decrease the likelihood that you will fall victim to these thefts.

-Park indoors if possible: What thief would break into a garage when there are easier targets outside?

-Look for cameras: Choose parking garages and parking lots covered by cameras when you need to park the vehicle.

-Park in a well-lighted area: Thieves are less likely to steal where they’re more likely to be seen.

-Consider installing a dash camera. Some dash cams use motion sensors and will record anyone close enough to your car to get to the catalytic converter. The presence of a camera can be enough to scare thieves off to find easier prey.

-Install an anti-theft device. Some car shops offer shields designed to make a catalytic converter harder to remove. We’re aware of no studies on how well these devices work, but it seems logical that thieves might move on to cars without them.

-As always please report suspicious behavior to the New Castle County Division of Police (3020 573-2800 or call 911.