Calgary Police teams up with KalTire to prevent catalytic converter thefts.
Khai Choual, Contributor
The Calgary Police (CPS) and KalTire have teamed up to help prevent catalytic converter thefts in the city. From Jan. 11, 2023, vehicle owners will now have the opportunity to have their vehicle identification number (VIN) inscribed onto their catalytic converters.
If a catalytic converter is stolen, the engraving will permit the part to be tracked as stolen property through the Calgary Police Information Centre (CPIC).
“Scrap metal recycling businesses and private buyers can identify potentially stolen catalytic converters if they are engraved, and the seller cannot produce proof of ownership. In these instances, potential buyers should not proceed with the purchase and will need to report it to police,” CPS states.
The motive behind these thefts is due to the precious metals that are inside catalytic converters, as they are easy to take and take only minutes to steal.
Yakov Aluph, vice president of the Mount Royal University Car Club informs that the purpose of a catalytic converter is to stop toxic fumes by using the precious metals palladium and platinum.
“It stops nearly 90% of the toxic fumes from the engine just because of the platinum screens inside the [catalytic converter] with the palladium. The fumes are as follows: carbon monoxide (not carbon dioxide), sulfur dioxide (corrosion and smog), and nitrogen oxide (which causes toxic fogs),” says Aluph.
According to the CPS, 205 catalytic converter thefts were reported to the Calgary police in 2019. There was an increase in theft in 2020 as the number increased to 300. In 2021, that number went up to 1560.
Between January to November 2022 alone, it was reported to the police that 3174 catalytic converters were stolen.
CPS has stated these statistics do not capture the full extent of theft that took place during this time period. “We are aware that a large number of catalytic converter thefts are not being reported as people worry they are tying up police resources, or that it will be too difficult for the suspect to be located and held accountable,” says Calgary Police Service Community Resource Officer, Const. Brent Podesky.
Aluph expresses that “The police partnering with KalTire to engrave on [catalytic converters] with VIN numbers is cool, but in the end, someone can just grind it off and sell it to [catalytic converter] vendors who are desperate. Or they outsource, where someone can get the platinum extracted, and the rest is scrapped.”
According to CPS, “Appointments with KalTire will be available from January through to the end of March 2023. The cost for this hour-long service is $40 and will include a free visual tire and brake inspection. Customers will also receive two small window decals that indicate the catalytic converter has been engraved with the vehicle’s VIN.”
CPS states that they continue to work with scrap metal dealers and recyclers. The Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Identification Act makes sure that dealers and recyclers are held accountable by checking for proof that the metals they obtain are not stolen property. The Calgary Business Licence Bylaw (32M98) also dictates that scrap yards must document detailed descriptions of the parts they salvage from vehicles.
The CPS encourages citizens to install home security cameras and alarms and to also install car alarms. Drivers are encouraged to park in a well-lit area and a secured garage if possible.
Thefts can be reported via the CPS non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or 911 for crimes in progress.