Catalytic converter theft reports decline, but police warn to not let your guard down

Mayra Moreno Image
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Catalytic converter thefts decline, but don't let your guard down
Houston police warn people to still be on guard despite catalytic converter thefts having declined drastically since 2022.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In a long-awaited moment, a bill that would make it a felony to steal catalytic converters has finally been signed into law, but it seems that after a year of seeing a huge theft spike, the city was already noticing a slight decline.

According to statistics collected from the ABC13 data team, incidents have taken a dip, but auto part theft reports are still up 16% compared to the average of the last four years.

Reported theft of motor vehicle parts citywide:

  • 2019: 5,871
  • 2020: 7,353
  • 2021: 13,390
  • 2022: 15,771
  • 2023: 4,604 (so far)

This specific data is separate from Houston's status of auto theft.

READ MORE: Catalytic converter ordinance in effect after rise of thefts in Houston

Houston leaders unanimously approved the ordinance in May in an attempt to address the 123% increase in catalytic converter thefts.

As far as catalytic converter thefts are concerned, the city said it's seeing a decline thanks to a number of things combined. First off, new ordinances in the city have made it illegal to have or sell "cut" catalytic converters, and also proposed bills that would make it a felony to steal one have helped.

Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner spoke briefly about that during a news conference on Tuesday.

"As the jugging numbers increase, catalytic converter numbers decrease. That might be a correlation and that some of those suspects after laws are changing crap clamping down on precious metals, prices going down. So they may be moving over. And it's my job as chief, and our job as a team, to move with them. And that's what we're doing here in this city. So we should have some results here pretty soon," Finner said.

While we see a difference, HPD said that the department hopes people don't assume these thefts are not a problem anymore. Law enforcement wants folks to continue being vigilant and taking steps to deal with the still-occurring issue.

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SEE ALSO: Authorities find Houston-area ties in nationwide crackdown on catalytic converter theft

An auto-part company was buying stolen catalytic converters, removing the precious metals, and selling it for millions of dollars.