From July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, claims filed for catalytic converter theft grew close to 293% nationwide reaching 18,000 instances as compared to the 12 months prior, which amounted to an estimated 4,500, according to new claims data from State Farm.
In terms of payouts, the total paid to customers during the most recent 12-month period was a whopping $33.7 million, while during the previous 12-month period it was slightly below $9 million.
Moreover, the trend is accelerating in 2021, according to the insurance giant. Fleet owners should be aware of the “hot spots” across the nation for this particular theft and alert drivers to be vigilant about protecting their vehicles.
State Farm data from the first half of 2021 finds that California ranks number one in the country for catalytic converter theft — with more than 3 out of 10 claims being filed in the Golden State.
Texas came in second with 1 out of 10 claims filed. Moreover, statistics concerning the Lone Star State are staggering: During 2020 there were 445 catalytic converter thefts reported by State Farm customers yet in the first half of 2021 that number skyrocketed to 1,380 — a nearly 210% increase.
Other states that made the top five list for the catalytic converter crime include Minnesota, which ranks third, followed by Washington and Illinois.
Previous reports from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) note that catalytic converter thefts have seen a significant increase across the country since March of 2020, the start of the global pandemic. As the value of the precious metals contained within the catalytic converters — including platinum, palladium, and rhodium — continues to increase, so do the number of thefts of the devices.
There is a clear connection between times of crisis, limited resources, and disruption of the supply chain that drives investors toward these precious metals, according to NICB.
As thieves know, the auto part itself can be worth several hundred to several thousand dollars. Moreover, some crooks even remove the metals to sell them on the black market.
Now is a good time for fleet managers to remind drivers to protect their vehicle while on the job by parking in well-lit areas or parking lots with strong security. The NICB recommends fleet owners park off-duty fleet vehicles in an enclosed and secured area that is well lit, locked, and alarmed.