The number of reports of catalytic converter thefts has quadrupled, according to Kent Police.
In the last year alone, there has been 214 recorded incidents, where catalytic converters have been stolen from vehicles. This is a 319% increase over the previous year, which had 51 incidents.
These figures come from statistics recorded over the past 5 years.
These catalytic converters are stolen for their rare metals, such as palladium and platinum. They are then sold on to scrap dealers for cash. As this interview with a garage owner points out, they often go for newer vehicles, as well as cars with a high ride height due to how easy it is to take the component off.
Dartford in particular has been badly affected, with 54 recorded incidents in that region alone. However, other areas that have been targeted are; Railway Street in Chatham, Hermitage Lane in Maidstone and Littlebourne Road in Canterbury.
Detective Superintendent, Mark Weller, of Kent Police said: ‘Vehicle crime can have a big impact on victims as repairs can be costly and time spent without a vehicle can make it difficult for victims to get to work, drop their children off at school and generally go about their daily business.
‘Kent Police are committed to tackling this type of crime and we therefore encourage residents to be vigilant and report anything to us straight away, including anybody seen acting suspiciously around vehicles, while we seek to identify those people responsible for these thefts.
Kent Police are committed to tackling this type of crime
“As well as reviewing CCTV footage we are also working closely with partners including car park operators to ensure vehicles are protected as much as possible. We are also engaging with scrap metal dealers to make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal and also identify any dealers who may be operating illegally.”
Kent Police have also asked residents to take precautions like parking cars in monitored, well-lit areas to deter thieves. There have been four arrests so far, with one being released on bail today. The other three were arrested on Wednesday.