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Hawaiʻi ranks 24th for catalytic converter theft across the country, State Farm says

A bin full of discarded catalytic converters at AB CatTech in Burlington, Wis.
A bin full of discarded catalytic converters at AB CatTech in Burlington, Wis.

Hawaiʻi has seen a dramatic uptick in thefts of catalytic converters in just the last few years, according to new data from State Farm.

The insurance company received eight claims for stolen converters in 2019. That number jumped to 310 claims in 2021, totaling $678,000.

Catalytic converters are a target for thieves because they are easy to remove from cars and contain valuable precious metals.

State Farm Insurance spokesperson Amy Harris says that Hawaiʻi is in the top 50% of states for catalytic converter thefts. Hawaiʻi ranks 24th across the country.

The company has seen a dramatic increase nationwide in claims related to catalytic converter theft over the past two years.

"When we pulled the data for 2021, we were shocked because nationally since 2019, it's over an 1100% increase," Harris said.

"Part of the issue is that anyone can sell a catalytic converter to an auto parts salvage business. And there's no tracking or registration to know where that part’s coming from," she told The Conversation. "Things that we also are hearing and kind of recommending is considering to etch your name or your phone number or your license plate number, something, on the actual catalytic converter so that it can be identified and linked back to you if yours is stolen."

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa officials have reported 19 cases so far, just two and a half months into the spring semester. That’s compared to 20 incidents last year, though officials say there were likely fewer vehicles on campus due to remote learning.

This interview aired on The Conversation on March 15, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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