Between May 1, 2020 and Feb. 13, 2021, there were 190 reported thefts from vehicles in the City of Takoma Park, Police Chief Antonio DeVaul reported. Purses, money, credit cards, cell phones, laptops, gym bags, sunglasses, tools and other items were stolen from inside the vehicles.
According to DeVaul, in 24% of the incidents, forced entry was used to enter the vehicles. In 22%, no entry was required as a tag or catalytic converter was taken. In 54% of the cases, there was no forced entry.
Hybrid cars were targeted for their catalytic converters as they are more valuable to thieves, because the metals inside them are less likely to corrode, according to DeVaul’s statement.
If a catalytic converter is removed, the car will make a loud rumbling or roaring sound as soon as it is turned on. The noise will get louder when the driver hits the gas. To prevent someone taking it, DeVaul suggested that cars be parked in well lit areas or inside personal garages. He also suggested that cars be parked close to a building entrance or other places where there is frequent pedestrian traffic.
Security devices are available to attach to the converter. The converter also may be welded to a car frame. A security system on the car can be calibrated so it is set off should the converter be accessed. Another idea suggested is to engrave the vehicle’s VIN number onto the catalytic converter.
As for items stolen from inside vehicles, DeVaul advised that they not be in plain view and that the car be locked.
Anyone seeing suspicious activity is asked to call Takoma Police at 301-270-1100.