Catalytic converter thefts are happening all around the region, and this week the Des Moines Police Department is sharing some tips that might help prevent you and your car from becoming a victim.

Des Moines has been averaging nine catalytic converter thefts a month, and for September are at seven, Scott Oak, Detective Sergeant of Special Investigations Unit told The Waterland Blog.

The King County Sheriff’s Office has said that a catalytic converter for a Prius can sell for about $1,100 online. Thieves steal and resell these for valuable precious metals like rhodium, platinum, and palladium. Rhodium is the most valuable by weight, and can be worth 15 times more than gold and 30 times more than cocaine.

Catalytic Converter Theft What Can you do?
It’s never a fun time when your car gets vandalized; however, there are a few steps to prevent it from happening.

Remember to be vigilant and do what you can to protect your car and its catalytic converter. Otherwise, you may get a very loud surprise when you start your car up one morning in addition to a hefty repair bill.

    • Secure your vehicle in a locked garage.
    • If you don’t have a garage, set motion-sensitive lights and park in your driveway or in a brightly lit area in front of your home.
    • Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device. Your mechanic or a search of the inter-net can show you what devices are available, costs and installation requirements.
    • Paint your catalytic converter with a high temperature fluorescent paint and etch your vehicle’s identification number on the painted surface. This makes it traceable and more easily identifiable.
    • Set an alarm or camera. You can turn up the sensitivity of your car alarm so that it goes off if thieves jostle your car. A motion sensitive dash cam can alert you to the theft and possibly record suspect information.
    • Check your vehicle frequently.
    • Remember to report suspicious behavior to the Des Moines Police Department at 9-1-1 or non-emergency (206) 878-2121.