Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise in Madison

by Safety Connection

Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed nationwide according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and Madison has not been immune. Between January and July of 2020 Madison Police reported 47 thefts citywide, and this year already more than a dozen were stolen from vehicles just in February. It’s a difficult crime to prevent because it happens so quickly and there are very few easy preventative things you can do other than report suspicious behavior when you see it.

This week in her MPD Blotter, Central District Captain Kelly Donahue offered additional information about how these crimes occur and what to watch out for:

“Across the city, we have seen a spike in the theft of catalytic converters. The Tenney Lapham and Sherman Ave Neighborhoods are two areas of the City that have been hardest hit. This is another crime that can be committed in very short order. Suspects will generally work together to target vehicles that have easy access to the catalytic converter. One suspect will generally be the lookout while the other hops under the car and quickly saws off the CAT and off they go. The most common vehicles that we are seeing targeted are 2005 – 2009 Prius, Honda SUVs and mini vans and Isuzu. Many of these are occurring in the overnight hours. Please report any suspicious behaviors that you see.”

In addition to these thefts happening in driveways and on the street, a patrol officer told us that some of them are occurring in apartment complex parking lots. If you see someone checking under vehicles in an odd location, please call 911 and report it.

Preventative advice includes parking in well-lit areas, installing security cameras (which may deter a thief) and parking up against a fence or other area that doesn’t allow easy access to your vehicle’s catalytic converter.

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