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Auto part theft is nothing new, but the theft of one specific device has skyrocketed in recent years and hit a fever pitch during the pandemic. Catalytic converter theft jumped by 325% since the onset Covid-19, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). That’s a nationwide figure, but Texas in particular has become a breeding ground for this crime.
Fortunately, video surveillance trailers can help owners of commercial properties reduce the risk of this crime happening on their lots. Here are three reasons why property owners should consider a video surveillance trailer as a security solution for auto part theft.
1. Laws aren’t stopping rampant catalytic converter theft in Texas.
In August 2022, law enforcement broke up a $2.7 million catalytic converter theft ring — prompting the Texas legislature to act by passing new criminal penalties for those who are found selling stolen catalytic converters. Likewise, the new legislation includes a rule that requires catalytic converter sellers to show proof that the devices they’re attempting to sell are coming from vehicles they own personally.
Unfortunately, more experienced thieves have found a stopgap measure to work around the new rule. Their scheme involves stealing the catalytic converters in Texas, and selling them in nearby states with less rigid catalytic converter theft laws (including those throughout the Quad State region). So sadly, it appears that passing laws is simply insufficient when it comes to stopping the rampant catalytic converter theft in Texas.
2. Catalytic converter thieves are highly motivated.
For the uninitiated, the reasons behind the catalytic converter theft epidemic may be elusive. It’s quite simple; as is the case with most property theft, it comes down to the value of the item at resale. The resale value of catalytic converters is derived from the precious metals they are made from: platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Scrap metal recyclers may pay a seller anywhere from $250 to $500 for a catalytic converter before profiting from their own resale of the metals. Specifically, cars.com reports these relatively current* figures regarding the value of catalytic converter metals:
- Platinum – $1,100 per ounce
- Palladium – $2,400 per ounce
- Rhodium – $18,000 to $26,000 per ounce
*2021 figures reported in February 2022 by cars.com.
All things considered, catalytic converter thieves are highly motivated by the idea of pocketing hundreds of dollars at resale — and, some buyers are willing to look the other way in order to profit thousands.
This is another reason why owners of commercial lots need a solid security solution, like video surveillance trailers, to keep criminals from acting on their impulses.
3. Catalytic Converter Thieves Act Quickly.
From the time he gets under the vehicle to the moment of escape, an experienced catalytic converter thief can act in roughly 30 seconds. In one North Texas case last year, 17 different RVs were targeted at the same time; this type of operation is only possible because catalytic converter thieves know how to act quickly (especially if they work in teams, as many do). Typically, the entire crime is completed and the criminals have gotten away before a security guard or staff member knows what’s happening. As the owner of the RV lot said, the thieves viewed his property as “a shopping mall of catalytic converters.” The swiftness of catalytic converter thieves is perhaps the most compelling reason to protect commercial lots with video surveillance trailers.
How a Video Surveillance Trailer Intervenes in Auto Part Theft
One solar powered video surveillance trailer can cover a range of 300 feet in multiple directions, using powerful, intelligent cameras that are motion-activated and connected to a central station. When the cameras start recording, a live agent at the central station receives the signal and quickly assesses the scenario.
If a crime is taking place, the agent immediately begins talking down to the site through a loudspeaker. Often, the voice of a monitoring agent is enough to scare a thief away. However, the agent will also dispatch police to the scene at the same time. In the case of the North Texas RV lot, officers were able to apprehend the subject as he fled on foot. With a video surveillance trailer, you can elevate the odds of a similar outcome in the event of a catalytic converter thief on your property.
Request a Video Surveillance Trailer Demo
Catalytic converter theft is a serious problem, but commercial property owners can find a solution in video surveillance trailers. To learn more about buying or leasing a video surveillance trailer, request a demo from Security Trailers. We look forward to speaking with you.
About Security Trailers.com
SecurityTrailers.com specializes in theft and vandalism prevention and intervention for commercial and residential construction, with zero tolerance for loss. Our regional service area comprises Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and North Texas. Contact us today to request a free demo on our video surveillance trailer products and interactive monitoring service.