Government seeks to stop the theft of catalytic converters
To stop the high theft of catalytic converters vehicular Governor Kathy Hochul announced new actions to control areas with a high rate of assault by targeting unauthorized and illegal vehicle dismantlers, or “junkyards.”
The Governor signed legislation (S.9428/A.1940-E) to combat auto parts theft, which places restrictions on the purchase, sale and possession of catalytic converters by vehicle dismantlers and processors of Scrap.
“Public safety is my top priority, and we are taking an aggressive and targeted approach to deter criminals from stealing catalytic converters,” Governor Hochul said. “Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed in our state and nation, and these comprehensive actions double our efforts to keep New Yorkers and their property safe, protect our communities, and crack down on crime,” she added.
Catalytic converters are a key part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, breaking down pollutants like carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The theft of parts is costly to auto stores as well as the driving public. It can cost a dealer between $2,000 and $3,000 to replace a stolen converter to repair damage to a vehicle’s undercarriage, fuel line, and electrical lines in the process of being stolen.
Interagency cooperation and enforcement are important in addressing this statewide issue. The New York State Police and the State Department of Motor Vehicles have been tasked with leveraging their existing partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement to increase investigations and crackdowns in high-risk areas. of robberies. These investigations often involve organized raiding operations that cross state lines.
In New York City, the New York Police Department initially reported that catalytic converter thefts have nearly quadrupled by 2022. There have been 5,548 catalytic converter thefts in the city as of August 14, compared to 1,505 robberies during the same period in 2021.
Thefts on the rise in Nassau County
Catalytic converter thefts in Nassau County are reportedly up 248 percent year-to-date. There are also nearly three times as many catalytic converter thefts so far this year in Suffolk County. According to reports, 445 catalytic converters were stolen last year in Nassau County and a total of 1,549 converters were stolen this year. In Suffolk County, 289 converters have been stolen in 2021 and 819 so far in 2022.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks crimes reported to insurance companies, the number of reported catalytic converter thefts increased from about 1,300 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021, an increase of about 1,215% since the 2019.
“We have been working diligently on several fronts to address this problem of catalytic converter theft. We are working closely with our partners in law enforcement and the car dealership industry to address these thefts by distributing etching kits. We have held and will continue to hold press conferences throughout New York State to raise awareness among consumers and educate them on ways to protect their vehicles against these thefts,” he said. Mark JF Schroeder, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Governor enacted legislation (S.9428/ A.1940-E), which amends the Vehicle and Traffic Law to add catalytic converters as a major vehicle component, which will require vehicle dismantlers to maintain records of them. Every 60 days, those companies must report the number of catalytic converters received during that period. Failure to maintain or produce such records upon request is a Class A misdemeanor and could include monetary penalties of up to twice the amount obtained by receiving suspected stolen drive components. In addition, new motor vehicle dealers and other qualified dealers will be required to stock catalytic converter etch kits to put a unique serial number on components so they can be traced in the event of theft. Those kits will be provided at a cost no higher than the cost of the kit itself.