Police often remind people to keep anything valuable out of sight in their cars to try and stop break-ins.
But there are some things that are a part of your car that you cannot protect as easily.
“You can’t take your catalytic converter with you when you park your car,” said Surrey RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Vanessa Munn. “So we had to come up with some additional outside the box strategies, and part of that is getting your VIN number etched.”
On Saturday (April 1), Surrey RCMP and ICBC launched “You Etch It. We Catch It.” at Central City mall in Whalley. The crime prevention strategy is the first of its kind in the Lower Mainland and encourages individuals to engrave their vehicle identification number (VIN) on their catalytic converter.
People can take their vehicles to a participating mechanic shop in Surrey, where the catalytic converter will be etched for free if they have another service done. Participating mechanic shops will have advertisements showing they are taking part in the campaign.
After etching the VIN number, the shop will install a sticker on the windshield to show the catalytic converter has been etched. Cpl Munn said hopefully, this will help deter thieves.
In 2022, 2,143 catalytic converter thefts were reported in Surrey, said Cpl. Munn. That accounts for 45 per cent of all thefts from vehicles in the city.
Karen Klein, a road safety and community coordinator at ICBC, told the Now-Leader that converters are being stolen because of the precious metals in them. Vehicles that are higher off the ground, like SUV’s are at a higher risk. Klein added that import SUV’s are especially at risk as they apparently have a higher quality of precious metals.
Cpl Vannessa Mun with Surrey RCMP said the overall purpose of this campaign is to decrease catalytic converter theft.
“The distinctive marking will allow police to easily identify when a catalytic converter has been stolen as well as be able to track its origin,” said Cpl. Munn.
Businesses that want to participate in the program. can contact Surrey RCMP at Surrey_business_engagement@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Participants will be provided with advertisement materials to highlight their participation in this campaign.
You can find out more about the “You Etch It. We Catch It” program at these upcoming community events:
•Saturday April 15, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Guildford Mall (10355 152 St)
•Saturday April 29, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Real Canadian Superstore (7550 King George Blvd)
•Saturday May 6, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Save On Foods (17745 64th Ave)
•Saturday May 13, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Real Canadian Superstore (2332 160 St)
Surrey RCMP says if you witness a crime in progress like a catalytic converter theft call 9-1-1. To report a crime that is not in progress, call their non-emergency line at 604-599-0502.