On Saturday, March 4, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is hosting a Catalytic Converter Etching event at the Pacific Design Center’s Red Building, located at 8687 Melrose Avenue. The event is organized by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood Station and LASD Taskforce for Regional Auto-Theft Prevention. There is no charge for etching, community members may drop-in, and the process takes only a few minutes.
Catalytic converter theft is on the rise nationwide, with thieves slipping under cars to steal catalytic converters in just minutes. The auto part contains precious metals that can be sold to scrap recyclers for a few hundred dollars. Vehicles with higher ground clearances and hybrid vehicles are a favorite target of thieves due to relative ease of removal. Replacing a catalytic converter can cost between $1,500 and $5,000, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Two new laws went into effect in California at the beginning of 2023 defining who may sell and purchase catalytic converters to help ensure that sellers are the verifiable owners of vehicle parts, and to require a traceable payment method for transactions. The new laws also include fines and penalties for those convicted of knowingly and willfully violating these requirements. Increasing guardrails and accountability for offenders is one of many strategies in addressing this crime and its underlying causes.
The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station recommend additional tips to help deter theft, including:
- Park in secure garages or in well-lit areas. If you park in your driveway, install motion sensor lights and security cameras. In public garages and lots, park near the entrance.
- Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device such as a cage or steel plates.
- Install an alarm, either for the whole car or just for the catalytic converter.
- Engrave your vehicle identification number (VIN) and phone number on your catalytic converter. It could help law enforcement track and identify the stolen part. Look for free catalytic converter etching events near you.
- Spray-paint your catalytic converter with high-temperature automotive paint. It can alert scrap recyclers to look for VIN etchings.
- Report the theft to law enforcement and your insurance company. Statistics can help pass laws that make it harder for thieves to steal in the future.
For more information about the Free Drop-In LASD etching Event, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood Station at (310) 855-8850.