Catalytic converter thefts may increase 240%
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This article was published 13/07/2022 (205 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It seems every Manitoban knows someone who has had a catalytic converter stolen. Thanks to the exorbitant price of the precious metals in the catalytic converters and the lack of theft-prevention tools, these thefts by organized groups of criminals will continue at a record pace.
In the first five months of 2022, a total of 1,248 Manitoba Public Insurance claims were made for catalytic converter thefts. This is almost the entire total of 2021 claims: 1,564. With the summer in full swing, this trend is projected to hit almost 3,000 claims for 2022, a projected increase of 240 per cent over 2021. The increase from 2020 to 2021 was already a whopping 450 per cent. Not every theft is claimed, so these thefts are underreported, and each claim represents a ‘betterment fees’ cost to Manitoba drivers of as much as $2,500.
This June the provincial government passed what is, in many ways, a copy of the Scrap Metal Recycling Act I first introduced in the spring of 2021, aimed at curtailing these thefts. However, the bill has not yet become law, and everyone should now know that more needs to be done if we are to reduce these thefts, which are spiking all across Canada and the U.S.
Every car dealer in Manitoba should be required to mark or etch a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the catalytic converter of every new and used vehicle sold. This part, often valued around $800 or higher, doesn’t have an identifying part number, and therefore can’t be tied to the vehicle. The Manitoba government should direct Manitoba Public Insurance to issue credits to Manitoba drivers who engrave their catalytic converters with their vehicle’s VIN numbers. Both these measures would greatly help enforcement and reduce the theft.
To this end my NDP colleagues and I have introduced the Catalytic Converter Identification Act to require dealers to mark catalytic converters. We’ve also introduced petitions urging the provincial government to direct MPI to bring in credits for marking catalytic converters. Until we get these measures fully in place, expect catalytic converter thefts to continue to rise, just as they have done everywhere else — including in Alberta, which has found that simple ID requirements, record-keeping, and cash limits on scrap metal dealer transactions has not been enough to stem the tide of thefts.
For more information, please call my office at 204-415-1122 or email me at email@example.com
Elmwood constituency report
Jim Maloway is the NDP MLA for Elmwood.