How to Stop Catalytic Converter Theft at Churches: How to Protect Your Facility From Catalytic Converter Theft
As the price of metals continues to rise, churches have become targets for catalytic converter theft. A catalytic converter is a device that reduces emissions from an internal combustion engine. They contain small amounts of platinum, palladium, and rhodium—precious metals that can be sold for a high price.
While some thieves steal converters for the scrap value of the metal, others are more sophisticated and sell them to unscrupulous businesses that replace stolen converters with used ones on customers’ vehicles.
Here are some tips to protect your church from catalytic converter theft.
How Does Catalytic Converter Theft Impact Church Insurance Policies?
Catalytic converter theft is a growing problem impacting churches and other non-profit organizations, as thieves are targeting these properties to steal the parts containing valuable metals like platinum and palladium. While police are patrolling potentially vulnerable areas, churches and other nonprofits can also take steps to protect their property from theft.
The rise in catalytic converter theft is also causing ripple effects in the insurance industry. Church insurance companies face the same financial strain related to the theft of catalytic converters as other commercial insurance companies.
The average cost to replace a stolen catalytic converter costing $3,500, is causing insurance premiums to rise due to the increase in theft.
Ultimately, catalytic converter theft poses severe risks to churches and other non-profits. Organizations must take proactive steps to protect their property and ensure they have the appropriate church property insurance coverage.
6 Ways to Protect Your Church-Owned Vehicles Catalytic Converter?
1. Install a Cat Strap or Clamp
Installing a cat strap or clamp can help protect a church-owned vehicle’s catalytic converter from theft by hindering access and making detection more likely. These devices attach the catalytic converter to the vehicle’s chassis and make it harder for thieves to quickly access and remove the converter.
2. Install an Alarm System on Your Vehicle
Installing an alarm system on your church-owned vehicles can help protect catalytic converters from theft. Alarms can make detection more likely from a local neighbor due to the loud noise waking them up in time to call the police.
3. Utilize Surveillance Cameras to Monitor Your Facility
Surveillance cameras can protect the catalytic converter of a church-owned vehicle by monitoring the area around the car. A surveillance system may prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen for its precious metals.
4. Secure Vehicles Behind a Locked Fence
If your church owns a 15-passenger van or church bus, Integrity Now Insurance Brokers recommends securing your vehicles behind a locked fence. The fence can help prevent theft of your cars and from someone stealing a converter from underneath one or all of your vehicles.
5. Add Flood Lights to the Parking Lot
Adding flood lights to a church parking lot can protect the catalytic converter on church-owned vehicles by making it more likely for thieves to be detected. The improved lighting can also discourage potential thieves from attempting to access the car first, as it increases visibility.
The improved lighting can make it easier for church members and neighbors to spot any suspicious activity and alert the police. Lighting also helps church members feel safer if they need to do something at night.
6. Seek Help From Local Neighbors
A new catalytic converter is not cheap, and thieves easily remove them. One of your best defenses may be your neighbors, who could help prevent this from happening. Your church pastor should introduce themselves and ask for help watching for suspicious activity.
Do Church Auto Insurance Companies Cover Catalytic Converter Theft?
Yes, church auto insurance companies will typically cover catalytic converter theft. Nonprofit organizations need to consider adding VIN numbers to their exhaust systems. From 2019 to 2021, more than 60,000 catalytic converters stolen from vehicles have been reported throughout the US.
Thieves use a battery-powered reciprocating saw to remove a catalytic converter in minutes. Installing an anti-theft device such as a steal strap is a deterrent for thieves.
It is vital to contact your local police department and file a police report so they are aware of the situation and so the church can provide the report to the church insurance company.
Should a Church Ministry File a Business Auto Insurance Claim for a Stolen Catalytic Converter?
A church should file an auto insurance claim for a stolen catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is a valuable part of the vehicle used to reduce emissions, and replacing it can be costly. Therefore, the church should file a claim with their business auto insurance provider to be reimbursed for replacing the converter if it is stolen.
Churches will be responsible for their deductible when filing a claim. If your catalytic converter was stolen, ensure you file a police report and notify the church insurance provider immediately.
How can churches protect themselves from catalytic converter theft?
Churches and other religious organizations can protect themselves from catalytic converter theft by following these steps:
- Store church-owned vehicles inside locked gates or garages.
- Enclose church property with a secure fence and post “no trespassing” signs.
- Request help from church members to drive past the church regularly, looking for suspicious activity.
- Invite church neighbors to monitor for unusual activity and call the police when necessary.
- Meet with local police to discuss your concerns and request they patrol your property regularly.
- Use security cameras to monitor essential areas.
What are the most common catalytic converter theft prevention measures?
The most common catalytic converter theft prevention measures include parking vehicles in a well-lit, secure area, installing adequate security lighting, and using devices that respond to vibrations. This simple yet effective measure can help save your church congregation upwards of a few thousand dollars.
How can churches minimize their risk of catalytic converter theft?
Churches can minimize their risk of catalytic converter theft by taking a few simple steps.
- Firstly, the area around the church should be well-lit and monitored with surveillance cameras.
- Secondly, parking lots should be regularly patrolled, and areas, where vehicles are parked should be barricaded in some way to restrict access.
- Thirdly, churches should also install motion sensor alarms on their vehicles and install GPS tracking devices if possible.
- Finally, churches can contact local law enforcement for advice on how to secure their property better or organize neighborhood watch programs that involve members of the congregation in keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.
Should churches hire a private security company?
Whether or not churches should hire a private security company as part of their risk management efforts is a difficult decision to make.
On the one hand, having security guards in the church can help ensure everyone is safe and provide peace of mind to congregants. On the other hand, some may view it as an unnecessary expense or feel that it sends a message that the church doesn’t trust its members.
Ultimately, each church must consider its own needs and risk assessment when making this decision.
If the size and demographics of a congregation indicate that there is an increased risk of criminal activities, then hiring a private security company may be necessary to protect those attending services and events. A private security company can also monitor the church facilities at night to help prevent theft.
A security company can provide unarmed and armed guards who can either notify the local county sheriff’s office of an issue or take immediate action themselves. It will be essential to contact your church insurance agent to ensure a church is protected from these types of liability concerns.
How much do catalytic converters cost to replace?
Replacing a catalytic converter can be very expensive, ranging from a couple of thousand dollars to five thousand dollars or more. This is why having your vehicle identification number etched into a truck exchange is critical.
If a criminal steals the catalytic converter from a church’s vehicle, the recycling center can identify it and report it to the police before the thief can cash in on the palladium and platinum.
Is there a way to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen?
The best way to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen is to be proactive in its protection. Most theft prevention measures involve physical deterrents, such as parking in a well-lit area and using anti-theft devices like locking collars or cages that make it difficult for someone to access the converter.
What are criminals doing with catalytic converters?
Criminals are taking advantage of the high value of catalytic converters to make a quick profit. Criminals will target cars, church vans, and trucks parked in public places or even steal them from driveways.
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