Enforcement of new state law to fight surge in catalytic converter thefts
Dunn introduces plan to increase awareness, enforcement of new state law to fight surge in catalytic
In response to the significant rise of catalytic converter thefts in King County, Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Tuesday proposed legislation to create a public awareness campaign and emphasis initiative around a new Washington state law that requires documentation of ownership during catalytic converter sales. In addition to informing the public and recycling businesses on the new requirements, Dunn’s proposal would seek to enhance enforcement, investigation, and prosecution of illicit catalytic converter sales in order to deter further catalytic converter thefts in King County, which skyrocketed a shocking 12,855% between 2019 and 2021, per King County Sheriff’s Office data.
“The recent surge in thefts targeting catalytic converters hurts everyone, but most of all those who rely on having a functioning vehicle to get to work and provide for their families,” Dunn said. “The rise of catalytic converter thefts we’re seeing across King County is completely unprecedented and will only continue to increase without cracking down on those responsible and making it harder to profit off of the crime.”
Washington State House Bill 1815, which became law on July 1 of this year, aims to curb catalytic converter theft by requiring scrap yards and auto wreckers to verify proof of ownership during catalytic converter sales in order to ensure that the valuable car part wasn’t stolen. It also establishes a work group through Washington State University with members from law enforcement, local jurisdictions, the recycling industry, and other businesses.
According to a recently released report, Washington State ranks third in the country for total number of catalytic converter thefts per 100,000 automobiles during the period of January 2022-April 2022. In 2021, according to the same report, Washington ranked first for the total number of catalytic converter thefts per 100,000 vehicles.
In addition to creating an awareness campaign, requesting King County to participate in the new statewide Catalytic Converter Theft Work Group, and developing procedures for enforcing the new state law, Dunn’s legislation would task King County with collecting data on the number of catalytic converter thefts in King County and make recommendations on how to reduce the number of thefts.