ILLINOIS (WTVO) — Catalytic converter thefts in Illinois declined in the past year, according to new data from State Farm Insurance.

According to the latest report, catalytic converter thefts reported nationally to State Farm dropped from 23,000 in 2022 to 14,500 in 2023.

While State Farm says thefts of the device declined in Illinois, nearly 1,300 claims were made in the first half of 2023, and the state still ranks #3 for the most catalytic converter thefts, behind California and Texas.

In 2022, 3,880 claims were made to State Farm over catalytic converter thefts in Illinois.

A catalytic converter filters fumes from a vehicle’s exhaust system and reduces harmful emissions. The device uses elements of platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which can be sold for profit.

Since 1975, all gasoline-powered vehicles in the United States are equipped with catalytic converters to comply with federal EPA regulations.

Data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) showed that Illinois was in the top five states in the country for catalytic converter thefts between 2020-2022.

In May of this year, over 600 catalytic converters were found in a single bust.

Two men were charged in July after a 2-year investigation into thefts in 8 counties, including Winnebago and DeKalb.

CARFAX said that the most targeted vehicles are:

  • Ford F Series Truck
  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Prius
  • Ford Explorer
  • Ford Econoline
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Chevrolet Silerado
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Chevrolet Cruze

Cars that have had their catalytic converter removed will have a loud exhaust sound, a darker exhaust, sluggish acceleration, and a check engine light will display.

There are different anti-theft devices that drivers can install on their car to protect the catalytic converter, ranging from $300-$800. These include a steel shield that fits over the converter, which takes time and extra tools to remove.

Another option is a cage made of high-strength steel, which is difficult to cut, or stainless-steel cables welded from the converter to the car’s frame.

Todd Foreman, director of law enforcement outreach for Scrap Recycling Industries, said to NPR that drivers could also consider painting their catalytic converter with a bright colored, high-temperature paint.

He said that this could put off a person from stealing the converter, as they would have to scrap off the paint before selling it.