The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and a dozen related trade groups are calling on Congress to crack down on stolen catalytic converters. Emission control devices are loaded with precious metals and are relatively easy to steal if you’re thin enough to get under a parked car and have a reciprocating saw handy, making them prime targets for cash-strapped criminals, especially now that hardware prices are on the rise.
Cities across the country have reported an increase in catalytic converter thefts this year. While a majority of police departments estimate a year-over-year increase of less than 40%, some said their numbers were significantly higher. In March, the Las Vegas Police Department estimated that there were 87% more vehicles with hacked tailpipes in 2022. Philadelphia was even higher, reporting a staggering 172% increase in exhaust systems. exhaust removed.
Dealers are furious because they are among the easiest targets. Their lots are easy to access, allowing thieves to hit multiple vehicles within minutes before transporting the goods to the junkyard.
According to Automotive News, NADA and his friends have had enough. On Monday, the group sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, requesting a hearing regarding the Auto Recycling Theft Prevention Act (PART).
“These thefts are costing businesses and vehicle owners millions of dollars,” the groups wrote in a letter to Reps. Frank Pallone, (D-NJ), chair of the committee, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the GOP ranking member. “In addition, replacing a catalytic converter is expensive and often difficult due to skyrocketing demand for the part and supply chain shortages. »
Since Automotive News:
Other groups that have signed the letter include the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, American Car Rental Association, American Truck Dealers, American Trucking Associations, National Insurance Crime Bureau and National RV Dealers Association.
In the United States, catalytic converters are being stolen at increasingly high rates because they contain expensive precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium and are not easily traceable.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau said there were 14,433 thefts of catalytic converters reported in the United States in 2020 – last year’s figures were available – compared to 3,389 cases in 2019. In 2018, only 1,298 thefts have been reported.
Although they can be sold for a few hundred dollars, replacing a vehicle usually costs a few thousand dollars to the owner of the vehicle. As a result, we have started to see repair shops offering protection services where they will surround the affected equipment with a ring of steel cables that would be difficult to cut. The theory here is that thieves will ignore any catalytic converter that takes more than a few minutes to cut.
The PART Act was introduced in January by Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN) and would introduce new regulations through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requiring all vehicles to have the VIN stamped on the converter. This information would then be made available to “eligible entities,” which include car dealerships, law enforcement, service centers, and unspecified nonprofit organizations.
While the rule would theoretically make it easier for police to trace stolen converters back to their point of origin, criminals could simply scratch off the number like they do in the movies when someone has to use a gun in a crime. The disassembled converters for the materials inside would also have no use for the discarded outer casing. The right to repair movement has previously raised possible concerns for DIY repairs and people sourcing spare parts. Although no formal opposition has yet been raised against the bill.
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