How To Prevent San Angelo Thieves From Striking Platinum in Your Driveway
The numbers are staggering. Thefts of catalytic converters are on the rise all over West Texas. San Angelo has been hit hard. In December of last year, there were 30 catalytic converter thefts in San Angelo. This is no ordinary crime. Thieves are getting brazen and more dangerous.
Just last week four men wearing bandanas, long sleeve shirts, baseball hats and sunglasses stole a catalytic converter in the 500 block of Chestnut street. When a witness tried to stop them, they struck him with their vehicle and fled.
The campus of San Angelo State University has also been hit. There have been thefts in apartment parking lots and even in driveways.
So what's so valuable inside a catalytic converter? They have tremendous value for the precious metals they contain. Some are rare, like rhodium, palladium, and platinum. They can be converted into fast cash for criminals. Platinum prices have continued to rise continuously for the last 20 years. In trading, the latest price of platinum is a whopping $977 an ounce. The price of palladium, another precious metal found in converters, is also on the rise.
The average price of replacing a catalytic converter is $1500 to $3000. Trucks, which are higher off the ground, are at higher risk simply because the converters are easier to access for thieves. The favorite target of thieves is the Toyota Prius. This popular gasoline electric hybrid has two converters and is a favorite target, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
How can you protect yourself from being a victim? There are no foolproof methods that can foil very determined thieves, but you can minimize your chances of becoming a victim.
Anti-Theft Devices: Catalytic converter anti-theft devices are available from many manufacturers. They range from steel plates protecting the underside of the vehicle to cages made from steel cables that are supposed to discourage thieves by making it more time-consuming to steal a converter. There are also alarms, both full vehicle alarms and special converter-specific ones.
Secure Parking: Let's face it, unless you own a locked garage, there aren't a lot of secure parking spots in San Angelo. When parking in your driveway, where thefts do occur, consider motion sensor lights. If you're parking on the street, try to pick a well-lit one with plenty of traffic. Before signing a lease, ask the apartment community if they have a security monitor in the parking lot. Try to park close to building entrances or the nearest road in public parking lots.
Engrave your VIN on your catalytic converter or have it spray-painted with mechanic-approved engine paint.
Adjust you car's security System: If your security system is already installed, set it to activate from vibrations such as those produced by a saw.
Report a Theft Immediately: Alert law enforcement and your insurer if your converter gets stolen. Statistics can help get legislators to pass laws that make it tougher for thieves to sell stolen parts.
Insurance policies often cover the replacement of a stolen catalytic converter, but only if you have comprehensive coverage. Many people with older vehicles don't carry comprehensive coverage since the premium isn't worth the potential payout if something goes awry. If leasing or making payments, your car must carry comprehensive insurance. However, if you have a high deductible to keep premiums low, just like the mayhem insurance spokesman says: "You could be paying for this yourself".
Even if your insurance covers the replacement of your stolen catalytic converter, it is an inconvenience you won't have time to deal with. Supply chain issues mean long delays in getting the parts. Repair shop backups are standard right now. So the whole thing is a huge ordeal.