The Alameda Police Department (APD) has received 30 reports of catalytic converter thefts since March 1, according to an APD community safety alert posted on Facebook on March 13. “In some cases, a firearm was brandished or discharged while good Samaritans attempted to intervene,” the APD noted. “Your safety to us, your loved ones, and your neighbors is of the utmost importance. If you witness a crime, remember that your safety is the priority. Avoid placing yourself in potentially dangerous situations, get to a safe place, call for help, and be a good witness.”
APD officers have interrupted several catalytic converter thefts, thanks to proactive patrols, multi-agency collaborations, video evidence, and eyewitness accounts. In some cases, arrests have been made.
The safety alert suggests taking the following measures that can help protect your vehicle:
- Install an anti-theft device.
- Paint your catalytic converter to help quickly identify it as stolen.
- Install an alarm that activates when your car is tilted.
- Park in well-lit areas within view of your security camera system.
- Install a motion-sensitive dash cam that can notify you of an in-progress theft or record the license plate of the getaway car.
- Draw attention to your vehicle by activating your car’s alarm from a safe distance. Other witnesses may become alert and provide additional details to investigators.
- Be a good witness and call 9-1-1 immediately.
Alamedans have commented on Facebook groups that their catalytic converters have been stolen all over town, at both ferry parking lots, in elementary school staff parking lots, at Coast Guard Housing, in every neighborhood, and even in their driveways.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Toyota Prius tops the list of most commonly targeted vehicles for catalytic converter theft in California, but all hybrid vehicles are at particular risk due to the amount of precious metals used in their converters.