June 4, 2023

In a bid to curb rising catalytic converter thefts within the metropolis, the Torrance Metropolis Council on Tuesday, Could 23, voted to make it unlawful for individuals to own catalytic converters with out proof of possession.

The ordinance would require anybody in possession of a indifferent catalytic converter to supply proof of possession, comparable to a invoice of sale from the unique proprietor with pictures, documentation from an auto-body store and verifiable digital communications from the earlier proprietor to the possessor proving the relinquishment of possession.

Code violations might represent a misdemeanor, which can lead to as a lot as $1000 in advantageous or as much as a yr of imprisonment on the county jail.

Town council authorized the measure with a 5-0 vote, because of the absence of Councilmembers Jon Kaji and Mike Griffiths. It primarily offers the Torrance Police Division the authorized authority to prosecute catalytic converter thefts with out an identifiable sufferer.

Catalytic converter, situated inside a automotive’s exhaust system, converts dangerous pollution into much less dangerous substances by means of a chemical response. They comprise valuable metals comparable to platinum, palladium and rhodium, which have a excessive recycling/resale worth.

The worth of those metals have elevated because of excessive demand and restricted provide, which resulted in a major rise of catalytic converter thefts lately throughout the nation.

Catalytic-converter thefts elevated 1,215% between 2019 and 2022, in accordance with the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau. Thieves can normally promote every catalytic converter for $50-$250. In the meantime, the restore for the harm to automobiles might price as a lot as $4000.

California has change into a hotbed for catalytic converter theft due to its increased emissions requirements. Round 1,600 catalytic converters had been reported stolen every month within the state in 2021. California additionally accounts for 37 % of all catalytic converter theft claims nationwide, in accordance with the US Division of Justice.

The issue has been so extreme that the Los Angeles Metropolis Council on April 11 authorized an ordinance making it illegal for individuals to own a indifferent catalytic converter with out legitimate documentation of possession. The brand new ordinance comes amid a 728% rise in catalytic converter thefts in Los Angeles since 2018.

Torrance just isn’t resistant to the crime. Catalytic converter thefts have dramatically elevated, amounting to nicely over 500 thefts per yr, in accordance with a workers report.

“Catalytic Converter theft continues to be excessive over the previous years,” mentioned Sgt. Ron Wage, a spokesperson for the Torrance Police Division.

A part of the automobile part’s attraction to thieves is that catalytic converters could possibly be rapidly faraway from automobiles utilizing a reciprocating noticed. The stolen merchandise is normally offered for money by the thieves to a scrap steel supplier, who then extracts the steel for revenue, in accordance with a workers report.

Because of the pace wherein a catalytic converter might be eliminated, it’s tough to catch the suspect within the act. To make issues worse, there’s no serial numbers or different figuring out markers on or inside every unit.

Subsequently, when a police officer comes into contact with a attainable thief, she or he should discover the rightful proprietor earlier than with the ability to file expenses for theft or possession of the stolen property. With out figuring out the rightful proprietor or offering extra proof of felony exercise, the suspect could also be launched.

As well as, there is no such thing as a native, state, or federal laws relevant throughout the metropolis to prosecute catalytic converter theft with out an identifiable sufferer, Wage mentioned.

“A Metropolis of Torrance ordinance relating to unlawful possession of catalytic converters would offer the Torrance Police Division clear authorized authority to guard the general public and deter felony exercise,” Wage mentioned.