Catalytic Converter Theft Statistics 2024 (A Deep Dive)

Catalytic Converter theft has become increasingly common over the past several years.

The quick and aggressive rise quickly turned this into a huge problem nationwide.

What’s more, virtually any vehicle today is at risk of getting its catalytic converter stolen.

Moreover, owners can get caught off guard at how brazen thieves can be.

Catalytic converters are stolen from cars parked in the street or in front of grocery stores and shopping centers and even from cars that have been parked in the owner’s backyard.

Commercial vehicles and vehicles parked in non-residential lots, parking garages, and dealerships are also targeted.

Even police vehicles are not safe, as we can see from one case where the catalytic converters from several police vehicles parked at the SF Special Operations Bureau were stolen.

Catalytic Converter Theft Statistics

What Makes Catalytic Converter Theft So Common

Catalytic converters are stolen because they contain valuable metals. For example, catalytic converters contain palladium, platinum, and rhodium, which can get more expensive than gold.

On top of that, stealing a catalytic converter is easy and does not take much time.

Generally, a catalytic converter can be stolen in less than 3 minutes, making for a quick high-return theft.

Here’s a good example of how quickly it can all happen.

The next factor that plays a huge role is just how much thieves can get for a catalytic converter.

Catalytic converter resell values can vary between $50 and $1,500.

And if we take a look at the prices of those rare metals, we can see just how expensive they can be.

According to Kitco:

  • Rhodium is floating around $3,300 per ounce. In 2021, it sold for over $27,000 per ounce at one point.
  • Palladium sells for $1,200 per ounce, with prices reaching as high as $3,000 in the past 5 years.
  • Platinum prices float around $900 per ounce, with prices reaching as high as $1,296 in the past 5 years.


Catalytic Converter Theft Rates

According to the data provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), in 2018, there were 1,298 cases of catalytic converter theft.

The cases increased to 3,389 in 2019, followed by a drastic increase of 325% in 2020, up to 14,433 catalytic converter theft cases.

The theft cases continued to rise, and in 2021 there were approximately 52,000 cases, and in 2022 about 64,701 cases of catalytic converter theft claims nationwide.

According to State Farm, in the period between July 2020 to June 2021, there was a 293% increase in catalytic converter theft claims (from approximately 4,500 up to over 20,600 cases) compared to the previous 12 months.

From July 2021 to June 2022, State Farm observed a 109% catalytic converter theft increase nationwide (from roughly 20,600 theft cases to over 43,219 cases) compared to the same time period 12 months prior.

In terms of payouts, the data from State Farm shows that the payouts increased from about $9 million up to $33.7 million.

It is unclear how many catalytic converter thefts remain unaccounted for or unreported.

According to the estimates by Carfax, as many as 153,000 catalytic converters may have been stolen in the US in 2022 alone.

Even in the UK, things are not looking too good.

The data by Sky News in the UK shows that approximately 120,000 catalytic converter theft cases have been recorded in the 4-year period between 2019 and 2022.

According to the data, London accounted for almost 40% of all catalytic converter thefts in the UK in 2022.

However, there is some good news.

As the prices of the valuable metals found in catalytic converters have dropped and stricter regulations are put into practice, catalytic converter theft cases are decreasing.

They are not at the levels of 2021 or 2022, but they are still significantly higher compared to 2019.


Catalytic Converter Theft Hot Spots

The states with the highest number of catalytic converter theft insurance claims are California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, according to the data provided by NICB.

The data from State Farm shares similar findings, with the only difference being that it also ranked Minnesota, Illinois, Oregon, Ohio, Arizona, and Colorado very high.

According to the State Farm, 3 out of 10 claims came from California, and about 1 out of 10 was filed in Texas.

According to the estimates by BeenVerified, the current trends show that the 2023 catalytic converter theft cases are down 42.71% compared to the same time period in 2022 but still nearly 2,100% higher than the same period in 2019.

Nationwide, for the first six months of 2023, only the state of New Jersey is seeing an uptick in catalytic converter theft cases (+25.1%) compared to the same period in 2022. All other states are seeing a decrease in cases.

According to the estimates by BeenVerified for the first six months of 2023, we can also see the following trends:

  • California still ranks as the number one hot spot for catalytic converter thefts, with 6,988 cases so far in 2023.
  • Texas and New York rank second and third with 2,335 and 2,071 cases, respectively. Followed by New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Ohio, and Georgia.
  • New York ranks number one when ranked by the number of thefts per 100k vehicles (11.14 per 100k vehicles).
  • Since 2019, New York has observed a 41,320% increase in catalytic converter theft.
  • Washington is seeing the largest decrease in catalytic converter thefts so far, with a 77.28% decline over the last year.


Cars Most Likely to Have Catalytic Converters Stolen

Cars with multiple catalytic converters, SUVs, trucks, and hybrid vehicles are targeted by catalytic converter thieves more often. That said, all cars are at risk.

Cars most likely to have their catalytic converters stolen are the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, Ford Explorer, Ford Econoline, and Toyota Camry, Toyota Tacoma, and the Toyota Prius.

A good example is the Toyota Prius, which is almost always among the most targeted cars because its catalytic converter contains more valuable metals than what’s found in other traditional cars.

For example, in Bloomington, IN, just in the first two months of 2023, there were 20 catalytic converter thefts, 13 of which involved a Toyota Prius.


Cars Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converters Stolen

Almost any vehicle on the road today can be a target by catalytic converter thieves.

However, certain vehicles are generally less likely to be targeted.

  • Cars that have catalytic converters that sell for less and have catalytic converters that contain less valuable metals are less likely to be targeted by thieves. Specific non-hybrid models by Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, and Subaru fall in this category.
  • Aftermarket catalytic converters are generally less likely to get stolen. They have a lower amount of valuable metals in them, so they are less valuable as a result. That said, even aftermarket catalytic converts can be stolen.
  • Diesel Catalytic Converters are less likely to get targeted as well because they do not contain any valuable metals in them.
  • Vehicles that have low ground clearance or have their catalytic converter installed in a way making it harder to get to are also less likely to get targeted.
  • Catalytic converts were widely introduced in the USA in 1975, so vehicles manufactured before 1974 are less likely to get targeted.
  • Electric vehicles do not have a catalytic converter, so they will definitely not be targeted.


Regional Differences

According to the research conducted by Carfax, we can also find that there are some regional differences when it comes to which models and brands are more likely to get targeted.


On a nationwide scale, we can see a wide range of different types of cars, from SUVs to family sedans, to pick-up trucks.

Generally, those are also among the popular models across the country.


In the West

If we take a closer look here, we can see that in the West, trucks, and SUVs are taking a few steps back and making way for smaller hybrids and sedans. Some AWD vehicles are also on the list.

This list includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

RankBrand and Model
1Toyota Prius
2Honda Accord
3Honda CR-V
4Toyota Tacoma
5Ford F-Series
6Subaru Forester
7Toyota Camry
8Ford Econoline
9Ford Explorer
10Nissan NV


In the Midwest

In the Midwest, SUVs seem to rank higher along with some trucks.

The states covered in this list are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

RankBrand and Model
1Ford F-Series
2Chevrolet Equinox
3Honda CR-V
4Toyota Prius
5Ford Econoline
6Ford Explorer
7Buick Encore
8Chevrolet Cruze
9Chevrolet Trax
10Honda Accord


In the Southwest

In the Southwest, we can see that trucks and SUVs are dominating the list.

This list covers Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.

RankBrand and Model
1Ford F-Series
2Toyota Tundra
3Toyota Tacoma
4Chevrolet Silverado
5Toyota Prius
6Honda Accord
7Ford Expedition
8Honda CR-V
9Mitsubishi Outlander
10Ford Explorer


In the Great Plains

Unsurprisingly, trucks and SUVs rank among the most likely to get targeted by catalytic converter thieves in the Plains.

This list includes vehicles in Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

RankBrand and Model
1Ford F-Series
2Chevrolet Silverado
3Chevrolet Equinox
4Ford Econoline
5Honda CR-V
6Ford Explorer
7Honda Accord
8Chevrolet Cruze
9Kia Soul
10Jeep Patriot


In the South

In the South, some cars were targeted more than in previous years, like the Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Expedition, Ford Explorer, and Kia Soul.

This table covers vehicles in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

RankBrand and Model
1Ford F-Series
2Mitsubishi Outlander
3Honda Accord
4Kia Soul
5Ford Econoline
6Ford Explorer
7Chevrolet Silverado
8Chevrolet Traverse
9Ford Expedition
10Toyota Tacoma


In the Northeast

In the Northeast, SUVs, AWDs, and trucks are among the most targeted types of cars.

This list includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

RankBrand and Model
1Honda CR-V
2Honda Accord
3Ford F-Series
4Toyota Camry
5Subaru Forester
6Ford Explorer
7Chevrolet Express
8Subaru Outback
9Toyota Prius
10Ford Econoline


In the Mid-Atlantic

The usual trucks and SUVs are still among the most targeted vehicles in the Mid-Atlantic states.

The states included in this list are Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

RankBrand and Model
1Honda CR-V
2Ford F-Series
3Honda Accord
4Ford Explorer
5Mitsubishi Outlander
6Toyota Camry
7Ford Econoline
8Chevrolet Equinox
9Chevrolet Cruze
10Toyota Prius


In the Southeast

The states covered in this list are Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

RankBrand and Model
1Ford F-Series
2Honda Accord
3Ford Econoline
4Toyota Prius
5Honda CR-V
6Chevrolet Express
7Chevrolet Silverado
8Chevrolet Equinox
9Chevrolet Cruze
10Kia Soul


Catalytic Converter Clearance Rates

If your catalytic converter gets stolen, the odds are not in your favor.

Even though there are no official reports, the recovery rates for stolen catalytic converters seem to remain pretty low.

According to the Santa Monica Police Department, 99% of the cases in the area remain unsolved. The main reason for that is cited as the lack of proper laws and penalties targeting that kind of crime, according to Police Chief Ramon Batista.

In the UK, according to the data collected from many police stations through the Freedom of Information, things are not looking very different.

In the 5 years between 2017 and 2021, 95% of the catalytic converter theft cases were not solved, according to the 20 police stations that were able to provide full data.

The highest number of catalytic converter thefts appears to be in London. In the period between 2017 and 2021, 36,586 cases were reported, and only 1.49% of the cases were solved.


What Happens to Stolen Catalytic Converters

After a catalytic converter is stolen, it is most likely to be sold off.

Most catalytic converters end up in refineries, scrap yards, recycling depots, metal shops, or they can even be shipped out of the country.

Some can even be sold as second-hand catalytic converters to unsuspecting people.


Impact of Catalytic Converter Theft

To the inexperienced person, a catalytic converter may not seem like an expensive item. However, this is not the case.

Replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost between $900 to upwards of $5,500, depending on the make and model of the vehicle and your insurance.

Stealing a catalytic converter may leave people out of pocket money and can even total their car, as in some cases replacing the catalytic converter may cost more than the car itself, and driving without a catalytic converter is not a sustainable long-term solution.

What’s more, getting another certified catalytic converter can take months.


Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Trends

The authorities have been working on cracking down on catalytic converter theft by implementing laws making selling and buying them harder and more difficult to do anonymously.

In 2022 the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act bill was proposed.

Since 2021, multiple states have begun proposing various bills.

At first, only 10 states took more concrete actions, but that number continued to grow, and today, most states have passed at least one bill.

For the current state of the legislation, you can check the NICB Catalytic Converter Theft Bills here.

How to Burglar Proof Your Car in 2024 (Simple Tips)

9 Things To Do When Someone Is Following You In A Car


Photo of author


Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

Leave a Comment