British Columbia

B.C. announces new regulations to curb catalytic converter thefts

The British Columbia government has moved to prevent thefts of catalytic converters, a crime that costs millions every year.

ICBC says claims for the stolen auto part numbered almost 2,000 in 2021, with claim costs of more than $4M

An unseen man holds up a catalytic converter, which is thick in the middle with pipes coming out either end.
Thieves are crawling under vehicles and cutting away the catalytic converters for the precious metals they contain. The thefts are costing British Columbians millions every year, the government says. (Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press)

The British Columbia government has moved to prevent thefts of catalytic converters, a crime that costs millions every year.

The province has changed the regulations for metal dealers and recyclers to require them to report each transaction, including seller information, to police.

Catalytic converters control exhaust emissions to reduce pollutants, but they have been a target for thieves because of an increase in the price of metals they contain.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. says converter theft claims have climbed from 89 in 2017 to 1,953 last year, totalling more than $4 million in claim costs for 2021.

Up until the regulation changes on Monday, the converters could be sold without providing information about the seller, allowing them to remain anonymous.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says changing the rules will help police find offenders and work to reduce the incentive for people to steal them in the first place.

"These thefts create costs and consequences to the livelihoods of British Columbians and this change reduces the incentive to steal them in the first place," Farnworth said in a statement Monday.

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