Catalytic convertor thefts clustered on certain days


The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office continues its effort towards curbing the thefts of catalytic converters. In our commitment to providing our citizens with crime prevention information, we have identified specific days, times, methods and model years of cars being targeted by catalytic converter thieves throughout Ventura County.

In 2020, the Sheriff’s Office investigated 202 cases of catalytic converter thefts committed throughout its five contract cities and the unincorporated areas of Ventura County.  In 2021, that number rose 144% to 492 catalytic converter thefts. The majority of thefts are occurring in the overnight hours Monday through Thursday. The thefts often involve two vehicles that work in tandem to identify and steal catalytic converters.  Although the thefts of catalytic converters have slightly declined so far in 2022, an analysis of the crime data from the Sheriff’s Crime Analysis Unit found two types of vehicles with specific model years that are more frequently targeted for their catalytic converters.  In 2021, 55% of all catalytic converter thefts reported to the Sheriff’s Office came from the 2004-2009 Toyota Prius or from the 2003-2007 Honda Accord.

These specific models of vehicles are disproportionately targeted because the catalytic converters contain more precious metals sought by thieves and draw more money from those who purchase the catalytic converters.

We can reduce the number of catalytic converters being stolen from these and other vehicles with a few prevention tips.  To help avoid becoming the next potential victim, the Sheriff’s Office recommends:

Whenever possible, park in a garage or other secured area that is inaccessible to would-be thieves.

  1. Consider placing catalytic converter anti-theft devices that are available for your make and model of vehicle. The cost of placing one of these devices on your Toyota Prius or Honda Accord runs between $150 and $300 but is considerably less than the replacement cost should your converter get stolen. 

  1. Consider installing surveillance cameras with motion sensors that overlook areas where your cars are parked.  Although this may not prevent thefts, it can help you make a timely notification to the Sheriff’s Office, giving us a better chance to locate and arrest thieves. 

  1. Install motion-sensor lights if you don’t already have them over driveways, the street, or other areas where you park.  Park in a well-lit area covered by surveillance cameras or clearly visible by others.  

  1. Participate in the Etch and Catch program offered at all five contract cities who are provided law enforcement services by the Sheriff’s Office.  This involves etching your vehicle’s license plate number onto the catalytic converter, making it more likely that law enforcement can identify you as a victim should your converter be stolen. 

  1. If you detect a theft in progress, do not confront the suspects.  Immediately call 911 and provide the dispatcher with any details you can about the suspect’s vehicle and any other characteristics you see.  This timely reporting of a crime is critical in aiding Sheriff’s deputy’s efforts to locate and arrest suspects.

If anyone observes suspicious vehicles or subjects, promptly call and report the activity to Sheriff’s Dispatch by calling 911 or 805-654-9511.  The Sheriff’s Office has been able to apprehend many theft suspects thanks to the reporting of alert


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