Pictured, the underside of a Toyota Prius with its catalytic converter in the middle of image. Escondido, Calif. Nov. 22, 2021. Courtesy, National Insurance Crime Bureau

With an increase in catalytic converter thefts in Oceanside and throughout San Diego County, the Oceanside Police Department issued a series of prevention tips Friday.

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants from internal combustion engines into less-toxic pollutants.

Catalytic converter thefts are expected to grow by 30% over the next two years, police said. They arrested six suspects suspected of the crime in Oceanside Thursday following a vehicle and foot pursuit.

Vehicles often targeted by such thieves include the:

  • Honda Fit/Jazz,
  • Toyota Prius, Camry and Corolla
  • Lexus RX
  • Ford F150-F550
  • Ferrari F430
  • Dodge 2500, and
  • Kia Sedona

The rhodium, palladium and platinum precious metals used in converters are valuable. Rhodium can sell for $20,000 per ounce, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Police suggested ways for residents to deter thefts:

  • Parking in a garage or well-lit area.
  • Having catalytic converters welded to cars.
  • Parking near building entrances or in high-traffic areas.
  • Calibrating vehicle security systems to detect vibration.
  • Purchasing cameras that clearly capture where the car is parked.
  • Obtaining a security device for the catalytic converter. Cat Strap and Cat Clamp devices both cost less than $200.
  • Staying vigilant and reporting suspicious activity.

Police said services and products are widely available to secure and deter converter thefts. They urged residents to talk to a mechanic about what is best for their vehicles.

Those victimized by a catalytic converter theft should report the crime to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

– City News Service