Police in B.C. have renewed their concerns regarding catalytic converter thefts on the South Coast.
Police in Delta and on Vancouver Island are warning the public about a recent sharp increase in thefts.
The problems have been well documented in the bigger municipalities like Surrey and Vancouver but even smaller communities are facing challenges.
RCMP in North Saanich Sidney put out a warning Wednesday.
And in Delta, during the first 11 days of 2023, 33 catalytic converters have been boosted — equating to three a day.
Police said in the last five years the crime has morphed from a handful of prolific offenders to a much more widespread problem.
“We would arrest two or three prolific (catalytic converter thieves) and the numbers would go down by 20 to 30 per cent right away,” said Surrey RCMP Const. Hwan Lee.
“Now, those kinds of arrests have a very little impact on the overall numbers (of thefts).”
It’s a similar story in neighbouring Alberta but police there have rolled out a possible prevention tool.
In Calgary, Kal Tire shops are working with police to inscribe the vehicle information on the catalytic converter itself.
“Phones are off the hook,” said Alex Earl, a Kal Tire spokesperson.
“Customers are trying to get in to get the service done as quickly as possible.”
Calgary police said the idea was adopted from other provinces, which have successfully mitigated thefts with the engraving program.
“We’ve seen other engraving programs in other provinces and they have been quite successful in preventing thefts,” said Const. Brent Podesky, a Calgary police officer.
Police in B.C. said they recommended implementing the program in the province but said the laws need to change for a formal program.
B.C. is instead relying on self-reporting from scrap yards to curb resales.
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