WINNIPEG — A new campaign between Winnipeg Crime Stoppers and the automotive industry is aiming to curb the theft of catalytic converters.
The theft of the valuable piece of equipment cost Manitoba ratepayers $5 million last year, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.
The Save Your Cat campaign will enable automotive service providers to engrave an eight-digit number on the converter in order to identify the vehicle and owner. Bright high temperature paint will be applied to the bottom surface of the catalytic converter to serve as a visible deterrent for the thief.
“With our new Save Your Cat program, when you bring in your vehicle for other service, our auto service partners will engrave your converter at no charge,” said Winnipeg Crime Stoppers chair Paul Johnson.
“Criminal Forfeiture’s funding for this program allows us to pay for the engravers, high-temperature paint and identifying stickers to deter thieves. Our vehicle service partners have helped make this program possible.”
According to data released by Winnipeg Crime Stoppers, in the 12 months prior to March 2022, theft rates of catalytic converters have increased 50 percent since the start of the year.
Thieves strip the part from vehicles and sell it for its precious metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium. With the rising cost of precious metals in North America, catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed in recent years.
The campaign, which launched on Monday, came the same day the Manitoba government’s Bill 9 came into force.
“The Scrap Metal Act, along with the Scrap Metal Regulation, outlines a framework that applies to the sale and purchase of scrap metal in Manitoba,” said Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen.
“The act and regulation will significantly reduce the theft of catalytic converters by disrupting resale opportunities for illegally obtained scrap metal.”