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Etching program in Langley aims to protect catalytic converters

RCMP, ICBC teaming up for new initiative

Representatives from ICBC and the Langley RCMP were on scene at an event to help combat catalytic converter theft on Friday, and two more similar events are planned in Walnut Grove and Aldergrove.

The event saw drivers get their catalytic converters etched with their car’s VINs at the Kal Tire outlet on the Langley Bypass.

Based on a similar program that started in Surrey, local RCMP, municipal councils, and ICBC are encouraging changes including getting more unique ID numbers on the valuable, and frequently stolen, converters.

Thieves have been targeting the parts for years because they contain valuable scrap metals. While the converters are often sold to scrap dealers relatively cheaply, the repairs can cost car owners thousands of dollars.

Langley RCMP Const. K.J. Kim has encouraged both Langley City and Township councils to enact bylaws modelled on Surrey’s, which will prevent local dealers from buying any catalytic converters that aren’t etched with a VIN already.

Without a unique marking, converters are almost untraceable. Coverters with a number can be linked back to a specific theft.

It’s hoped that between the bylaws and etching numbers onto more vehicles, the level of catalytic converter theft can be brought down.

Leanne Cassap of ICBC said there have already been two pop-up events where garages have offered catalytic converter etching around Langley, and there will be two more:

• Kal Tire 20140 98th Ave., Thursday, April 18 from 2-5 p.m.

• Fountain Tire, 26361 Fraser Highway, Friday, April 26, 2-5 p.m.

It costs about $45 to have a VIN etched on a catalytic converter.

Cassap also provided a number of tips about other ways to make catalytic converter theft less likely:

• Park in a secure garage, underground, or behind a locked fence

• Park close to a wall or barrier to make it harder for a thief to get under the car

• Install anti-theft devices such as a catalytic converter lock or shield

• Motion sensitive dashboard cameras can help police identify thieves after the fact

• Reporting all catalytic converter thefts or attempted thefts to the police as soon as possible

PREVIOUSLY: Catalytic converter thieves in crosshairs of Langley Township council

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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