The Texas Senate is debating a bill to raise criminal penalties for stealing catalytic converters.

As The Dallas Express previously reported, catalytic converter theft has skyrocketed in North Texas and nationwide, along with auto theft.

Catalytic converter thefts spiked 109% from June 2021 to June 2022 and are up 400% since 2019 nationwide, according to State Farm Insurance. Only California leads Texas in the number of total catalytic converter thefts claimed.

According to information made available to The Dallas Express by Dallas police, however, reported catalytic converter thefts in Dallas are down 46% year-to-date.

But the sharp increase in thefts is placing financial pressure on consumers and insurers alike, prompting the Texas legislature to deter potential thieves by enacting harsher penalties.

Senate Bill 432, currently in the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, would allow police to charge anyone found in possession of a stolen catalytic converter with a state jail felony.

A state jail felony carries a penalty of anywhere from 180 days to two years of incarceration.

Dallas police provided an overview of their efforts to stop catalytic converter theft to The Dallas Express:

“The Dallas Police Department is aware of catalytic converter thefts throughout the city. As you know property crime drives the majority of crime not only in Dallas but in the US. We have officers in a uniformed extra patrols capacity along with conducting Crimewatch meetings educating the public on various crime preventative tips.”

The Department also provided a list of tips for citizens to keep their property safe:

  • Park in a manner that will prevent easy access under the vehicle.
  • Consider etching a serial number onto the catalytic converter to help identify it.
  • Go to your local garage and ask them to install extra bolts to help secure the catalytic converter to the frame of the vehicle.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Install an alarm on your vehicle.
  • If possible, park your vehicle inside a garage.