Catalytic converter thefts are still prominent in central Vancouver Island.
That from Oceanside RCMP who say that in their area alone, 41 converters were stolen and 9 more were attempted to be stolen since January of this year. Provincially, ICBC says that catalytic converter thefts in the province have risen from only 89 in 2017 to just under 2,000 in 2021.
Catalytic converters are devices in the exhaust of a vehicle that have value in the scrap metal market for the precious metals they contain. Those metals include platinum, palladium and rhodium. They are located in a spot that is easily accessible to thieves from the outside of the vehicle.
The continued thefts in the Oceanside area are despite new legislation that was put into place in March, which regulated the sale of converters not attached to an exhaust system. It requires recyclers to report each transaction to police on the date of sale, including information about the seller.
At the time, BC Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth says these thefts create costs and consequences to the livelihoods of British Columbians and this change reduces the incentive to steal them in the first place.
The thefts happen mostly at night in areas like closed business parking lots or off-highway parking areas.
Sergeant Shane Worth says as a deterrent, vehicle owners should park in well-lit, high traffic areas when possible.
“Police are reminding vehicle owners to park their vehicles, when possible, in well-lit, high traffic areas or garages to prevent these thefts from occurring,” says Worth. “If anyone has any information about these thefts or sees suspicious activity at night time around parked vehicles please call the Detachment at (250) 248-6111.”