by Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

With an increase in catalytic converter thefts in Oceanside and throughout San Diego County, the Oceanside Police Department issued a series of tips today for residents to prevent such crimes.

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from internal combustion engines into less-toxic pollutants. 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 residents help deter thefts by taking steps such as:
   — Park in a garage or well-lit area if a garage is not available.
   — Have your catalytic converter welded to your car.
   — Park near building entrances or in high-traffic areas.
   — Calibrate your vehicle security system to detect vibration.
   — Purchase cameras that clearly capture where you park.
   — Purchase a security device for your catalytic converter. Cat Strap and Cat Clamp devices both cost less than $200.
   — Stay vigilant and report suspicious activity.
   Catalytic converter thefts are expected to grow by 30% over the next two years, police said.

Vehicles generally targeted by catalytic converter thieves include Honda Fit (Jazz), Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla (Auris), Lexus RX, Toyota Coma, Ford F150-F550, Ferrari F430, Dodge 2500 and Kia Sedona.

Police said services and products are widely available on the market to secure and deter converter thefts, and residents were urged to talk to a mechanic about what is best for your vehicle.

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