In response, UMKC police have instituted several extra theft-prevention measures:

  • Hourly checks randomly performed of all campus parking garages.
  • Barricading all entrances and exits from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Cherry Street Parking structure, except the Oak Street entrance and exit.
  • Dispatchers are monitoring cameras installed in parking areas when not performing other duties.

The UMKC and Kansas City police departments provide these tips to help prevent catalytic converter thefts, which can also help with successful investigation and prosecution.

How to know your converter has been removed

You’ll notice a loud rumbling or roaring sound as soon as you turn on the engine if your catalytic converter is missing. This gets louder when you hit the gas. The exhaust is not working properly, so the vehicle also drives rougher than usual, often sputtering as you change speed. Go to the back of the car and look underneath. The catalytic converter is a round canister that connects two pieces of piping in the exhaust. You will see a gaping space in the middle of your exhaust if the converter is missing, and you will likely see signs of the piping being cut away.

Theft prevention devices

Security devices are available that attach to the converter, making it harder to steal. Examples of these devices are metal shields over the converter, cables surrounding the converter, and metal brackets covering the converter.  Having the converter welded to the car frame also makes it more difficult to remove. If you have a security system on your car, calibrate it so vibration sets it off. This ensures the alarm activates if a thief tries to saw off the converter. Engrave your VIN number onto your catalytic converter to make it easier to identify in case it does get stolen.

Auto part accessory stores sell items like CatClamps and CAT Defenders to secure catalytic converters. Under-car alarm systems also are available. A quick online search for “catalytic converter theft prevention” reveals a number of possible tools.

Use safe parking areas

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • When possible park your vehicle inside a secured garage.

Report any damage or thefts immediately

  • Police are recovering stolen catalytic converters on a daily basis. The sooner you file a report with law enforcement, the more likely officers can link it to your vehicle and get the case prosecuted.
  • If you see something, say something! If you witness a crime on campus, call UMKC Police at 816-235-1515. Otherwise call 911.

Share any pertinent videos with law enforcement

  • If you have captured a catalytic converter theft on video, please share it with law enforcement as soon as possible. This helps police identify suspects.

Do not make your vehicle an easy target

  • Never leave a running vehicle unattended.
  • Always keep your vehicle secured.
  • Keep valuables out of sight.