Since the start of the pandemic, this type of crime has been taking off at a staggering rate.
State Farm has released auto insurance claims data showing that there is a sharp upward trend in catalytic converter thefts that has been taking place since the second half of 2020.
Though car theft and car parts theft are nothing new, the trend in this one specific part is.
The average households in many US cities have more than one vehicle. As a result, stolen parts have become a valuable black-market item for thieves to obtain and sell. Throughout the pandemic, one particular vehicle component – catalytic converters – has seen an explosive growth rate in its theft, according to State Farm auto insurance claims data.
The data showed that during the twelve-month period starting in July 2020 through to June 2021, there was a 293 percent increase in catalytic converter theft nationwide. This was the growth rate when compared to the prior twelve months from July 2019 to June 2020. During that most recent span of twelve months, there were over 18,000 theft instances filed, when compared to the 4,500 filed the year before.
The auto insurance claims paid to customers during the most recent 12-month span was over $33.7 million.
During the twelve-month stretch before that, it had been a notably lower $9 million. Moreover, the State Farm data showed that the trend isn’t slowing down. In fact, it appears to be speeding up. During the last half of 2020, the insurance company paid out just over $12 million in catalytic converter theft claims. However, during the first half of this year, that figure spiked to $21 million.
State Farm’s Data points to California as having the worst number of cases of catalytic converter theft. More than 3 out of ever 10 claims of that nature were filed in California. Texas was in second place, where about 1 out of every 10 were filed. Minnesota, Washington, and Illinois filled out the third, fourth and fifth places respectively. That said, in terms of growth rate, Texas has experienced the fastest rise in instances, jumping by almost 210 percent from 445 thefts in the second half of 2020 to 1,380 during the first half of this year.
This auto insurance claims trend is widespread and is impacting many different makes and model of vehicle. This exhaust system part has been required since 1975 for contaminant emission reduction and contains rare metals such as platinum, palladium or rhodium.