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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

WYSK: Catalytic converter theft 

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GRAPHIC: CASEY WOOD ’23/THE HAWK

What do I need to know about the catalytic converter thefts near campus?

The Office of Public Safety & Security posted an announcement on the Nest on Jan. 25 alerting the community to a trend of catalytic converter thefts across campus. 

According to the announcement, Public Safety was notified by a St. Joe’s student in regards to an unknown person removing a catalytic converter from their personal vehicle, which was parked on the 5700 block of Overbrook Avenue on Jan. 17. On Jan. 25, two thefts of catalytic converters occured on campus, one in the Ashwood Apartments parking lot and the other in the Fine Arts East parking area.

Arthur Grover, director of Public Safety & Security, said in an email to The Hawk that Public Safety has searched campus surveillance cameras and identified a vehicle connected to the thefts. Grover said Public Safety is sharing the footage with local police for investigation.

What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control component underneath cars that cleans the car’s exhaust emissions using chemical reactions with precious metals. These converters change harmful substances, like carbon monoxide or nitric oxide, into less harmful substances such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. 

Why are they high theft items?

Catalytic converters are historically high theft items because of their precious metals. Supply chain issues and shortages have increased the value of these metals even more, contributing to the rise in catalytic converter thefts nationally. Catalytic converter thefts have also increased in both Philadelphia and Lower Merion township, according to Public Safety. 

What do I do if my converter is stolen?

The first thing to do is call the police. Immediately after, contact your car insurance company. Some insurances may cover stolen catalytic converters. Though if they do not, a catalytic converter costs around $2,000 on average.

How can I protect my vehicle?

Grover said in an email to The Hawk that the police recommend using commercially available anti-theft devices to make it more difficult for someone to steal the converter. Anti-theft devices range from steel shields that physically protect the converter to motion-activated sirens that can sense if someone is underneath the vehicle. A best practice to protect cars when parking is to park in public, well-lit areas with the rear of the car close to a wall or fence.

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Natalie Nevins
Natalie Nevins, Copy Editor
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