Catalytic converter thefts broke records last year but are declining nationwide as the prices of precious metals tumble. Thefts fell in the first half of this year, totalling an estimated 26,742 between January and June. That's down 43%from the same period last year, USA Today reports. Washington, Oregon and Hawaii saw the largest decrease in thefts in the first six months of 2023. Only one state saw an increase: Thefts in New Jersey jumped 25%. It’s not all good news for car owners. Catalytic converter thefts still are nearly 21 times higher than in 2019 before the crime spree began.
“I am not sure that the consumer is seeing the benefit yet from the decrease in catalytic converter thefts,” said Kerry Sherin of BeenVerified, which analyzed catalytic converter theft data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and search data from Google. “There is still a significant amount of theft." Thefts accelerated in 2020 then exploded in 2021, costing car owners time and money. Replacing the catalytic converter specific to the make and model of the car can run thousands of dollars and take weeks depending on part availability. Even if the theft is covered by insurance, car owners are still on the hook for the deductible.