Following a growing number of catalytic converter thefts across the county over recent weeks, Hertfordshire Constabulary is urging drivers to protect their vehicles.
There have already been 73 thefts in the county during November, compared with 98 in the whole of October.
The areas most targeted by thieves have been Watford, St Albans, Dacorum, Broxbourne and Hertsmere.
Inspector Nicki Dean, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: “Over the past year we have seen a big rise in thieves stealing catalytic convertors. They are particularly targeting specific hybrid models such as the pre-2008 Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius (2004-2016) and Toyota Auris (2012-2018).
“We launched Operation Feline in July to help drivers protect their vehicles, working with garages around the county to offer free catalytic converter security marking. We would also urge the public to follow our advice, remain vigilant and report incidents of suspected catalytic converter theft, particularly where people are trying to get under cars in public car parks or on public roads. If you see this happening, please call 999 immediately.”
Details of the security marking scheme can be found at herts.police.uk/operationfeline.
In order to minimise the chance of becoming a victim we offer the following advice:
- Lock your car whenever it is left unattended and keep it in a garage when parked at night if possible.
- When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make theft difficult.
- Consider fitting CCTV on your home or driveway, to help deter thieves.
- Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible and this can also act as a deterrent.
- If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.
- Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota manufactured CATLOC device, (these are made for Toyota Prius made between 2004 and 2009) as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.
- Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked, and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.
- Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security. If you have a garage at home, ensure you use it and lock it properly.
- Noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don’t want to alert you to their approach.
- Never leave valuable items or tools on display in your vehicle as this may encourage a thief to break in.