San Marcos has seen a significant increase in catalyst theft over the past three years.
San Marcos Police Detective Casey Tennant said there were 301 catalytic converter thefts between January 1, 2019 and February. 2, 2022. Tennant added that the most significant increase in stolen catalytic converters occurred in 2021.
“We have released statistics for the last three years and made an analysis of our property crimes and identified it. [theft of] “Catalytic converters had increased significantly,” Tennant said. “In this analysis we tried to understand why, and we finally identified that it is a trend in most parts of the United States.”
In an effort to prevent further catalyst theft, SMPD will be hosting a theft prevention event at the San Marcos Toyota – 510 Interstate 35 – on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. free of charge, using either an engraver or a high temperature dye. All it takes to spot a catalyst is a car and proof of insurance, SMPD said, adding that a Liberty Mutual Insurance representative will be available during the event to discuss insurance options if someone catalyzes a catalytic converter theft.
“Our Leader [Stan Standridge] “He wanted to take a stand to try to fight part of this theft and try to implement some different types of measures than we did in the past,” Tennant said. “Strategically from a detective point of view, we implemented some of these investigative measures, but we also wanted to make a public opportunity to involve some of the citizens to try to make them part of the solution as well so that we can better understand this crime and be able to to solve it or to prevent it “.
Tennant added that the SMPD has changed the way catalytic converter theft is reported to better address the rise in these crimes. Catalytic converter theft is no longer a crime that can be reported through the SMPD electronic reporting system. SMPD officers are now called upon to report the incident.
“We no longer allow them to be sent to our electronic reporting system,” Tennant said. “What it does is take a specific note and require certain criteria and our officers are now going to meet with them and determine where the vehicle was parked and specifically if there are surveillance cameras in the area we would have access to. “Well, that’s one of the things we’ve done to try to get the best information we can as fast as we can to get started.”
Tennant added that SMPD sees catalytic converter theft more often than Toyota Tundras, Toyota Tacomas and Mitsubishi SUVs.
In addition to marking a vehicle’s catalytic converter during Saturday’s event, there are several devices available that can prevent thieves from stealing from their vehicle. The devices are located at https://catclamp.com, https://www.catstrap.net, https://catshield.comand https://amzn.to/3sDPPWk.
“There are several things you can do and I think a normal person could do it, but it will definitely prevent this crime,” Tennant said. “What we have seen is this kind of crime, they will take a saw-type tool and cut off both ends of the catalytic converter. The incident itself will last from 1-2 minutes. They have been doing this for a very short time. So, by installing one of these anti-theft devices, their saw will now have a harder time trying to throw through this metal… The hope is that with more time, they will grasp it and make your vehicle much less targeted ”.
Tennant reminds San Marcos residents to be vigilant about their environment to prevent catalytic converter theft.
“What we are seeing is that suspects tend to park in areas with heavy traffic and wait for the target vehicles to arrive,” Tennant said. “In the last incident where we managed to arrest the vehicle, it was due to a citizen who actually called and reported suspicious people in the parking lot and then saw them coming out with the saws and starting to cut the catalysts. Well, just be aware of your environment so you can find out if you see two people sitting in the parking lot of your apartment complex or in your neighborhood for hours, just call the police station and ask us to go out and talk to them to determine if they are there for legal purposes “.
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