Police are warning drivers and businesses to be vigilant as thieves continue to target catalytic converters across the county
There has been a rise in these kinds of thefts across the country, and in Hertfordshire police have seen significant increases during the last two weeks of January.
Catalytic converters, which are fitted to vehicle exhaust systems, are targeted by thieves because of the precious metals they contain.
Due to where these units are located on the vehicle they are difficult to access and remove.
Inspector Nicola Dean, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: “Thieves have been targeting specific models and we will be writing to owners of pre 2008 Honda Jazz models, Toyota Prius (2004 to 2016 inclusive) and Toyota Arius (2012 to 2018 inclusive), to offer free catalytic converter marking.
"Anyone else who would like to arrange free catalytic converter marking can contact Crime Prevention Officer Darren Cowell on Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01707 354668.
“Stealing these units is not easy as offenders need to get under or jack up a vehicle and would need to use noisy power tools.
"We urge the public to remain vigilant and report incidents of suspected catalytic converter theft, particularly where people are trying to get under cars in public car parks or on public roads. If you see this happening, please call 999 immediately.”
In order to minimise the chance of becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft, the police are offering the following advice:
> Lock your car in a garage when parked at night.
> When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make theft difficult.
> Consider fitting CCTV on your home or driveway, to help deter thieves.
> Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible and this can also act as a deterrent.
> If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.
> Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota manufactured CATLOC device, (these are made for Toyota Prius made between 2004 and 2009) as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.
> Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked, and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.
> Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security. If you have a garage at home, ensure you use it and lock it properly.
> Noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don't want to alert you to their approach.
For more crime prevention advice, visit: www.Herts.police.uk/crimeprevention.