Hertfordshire Constabulary is advising drivers and businesses to protect their vehicles after thieves recently stole several catalytic converters in the Three Rivers, Watford and St Albans areas.
As criminals continue to target vehicles across the country, owners are being advised to follow crime prevention advice to make their cars and vans more secure.
Catalytic converters, which are fitted to vehicle exhaust systems, are targeted by thieves because of the precious metals they contain. Due to where these units are located on the vehicle they are difficult to access and removal causes costly damage.
Inspector Nicola Dean, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: “Despite the lockdown, thieves are continuing to target specific models such as the pre 2008 Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius (2004 to 2016 inclusive) and Toyota Arius (2012 to 2018 inclusive). They are also breaking in to steal valuable items left on display.
“We will be offering our catalytic converter security marking service again once things return to normal. In the meantime, we 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.”
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.
For more crime prevention advice, please visit their website at Herts.police.uk/crimeprevention