AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Police Department is warning car owners about a rise in catalytic converter thefts across the city.

According to APD, 584 catalytic converter thefts occurred in 2020 compared to only 27 in 2019.

Police say the converters contain precious metals like palladium and rhodium, which have increased in value over recent years.

Courtesy: Austin Police Department

The five most targeted cars included the Toyota Prius, the Honda Element, Ford’s Econoline, the Chevy Express, and Toyota Tundras.

Most of the thefts happened near the car owner’s home.

Officers say there are things you can do to prevent the thefts on your vehicle, including:

  • Park in areas that are heavily trafficked and well lit when feasible
  • If you have a garage with sufficient space, park inside and be mindful about closing the garage door
  • Weld the catalytic converter to the vehicle’s frame to make it more difficult to steal
  • Engrave the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter to make it easier to identify the owner
  • Calibrate your car alarm to sound if there is vibration detected

Austin isn’t the only area that has seen a rise in catalytic converter thefts. Last month, the New York Times published a piece saying the thefts were up nationwide.

The Dallas Morning News also published a report this month saying police in Irving, Texas, were turning to the Texas Legislature in hopes of making it harder for people to sell the converters without proof of ownership.