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Calgary vehicle owners can prevent catalytic converter theft with new engraving program

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Calgarians can now protect themselves against the theft of their catalytic converter by heading to Kal Tire to have theirs engraved with their vehicle’s VIN.

The project, a partnership between Calgary police and Kal Tire, was announced on Wednesday and launched the same day.

Vehicle owners can have the engraving done at any Kal Tire location across Calgary until the end of March.

The cost of the hour-long service is $40 and incudes a free visual tire and brake inspection.

Customers will also receive two small window decals that indicate the catalytic converter has been engraved with the vehicle’s VIN.

If catalytic converters are engraved, scrap metal recycling businesses and private buyers can use the marking to help identify if they are stolen by accessing the Canadian Police Information Centre database and asking the seller to provide proof of ownership.

If sellers can't provide proof of ownership, buyers shouldn't proceed with the purchase and will need to report it to police.

A photo showing a VIN (with some characters removed) engraved on a catalytic converter. (Kal Tire) In 2019, 205 catalytic converter thefts were reported to Calgary police.

In 2020, that number increased to 300.

By 2021, police saw a sizeable increase in the crime with 1,560 thefts reported.

From January to November 2022, police received 3,174 reports of stolen catalytic converters.

The motive for most catalytic converter thefts is due to the price of the precious metals used to make them.

"We are aware that a large number of catalytic converter thefts are not being reported as people worry they are tying up police resources, or that it will be too difficult for the suspect to be located and held accountable," says Const. Brent Podesky.

"It’s important for citizens to know that each report, no matter how small, is taken seriously and helps us develop prevention initiatives, such as the engraving program with Kal Tire."

OTHER WAYS TO DISCOURAGE CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT

In addition to engraving your catalytic converter, Calgary police are encouraging citizens to install home security alarms and cameras, and car alarms, to help prevent thefts.

Drivers are also encouraged to park in a closed, secured garage if possible or, if not, a well-lit area outside.

To report a theft, contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or call 911 for a crime in progress.

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