Catalytic converter theft prevention: How to get your VIN etched for free in LA

People who want their vehicle identification numbers etched onto their catalytic converters as a preventative measure against theft can get the service done for free in Silver Lake on Wednesday.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Silver Lake Reservoir, 1863 Silver Lake Blvd., north of the dog park.

The event will be hosted by the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Auto Detectives and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Taskforce for Regional Auto Theft Prevention.

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Catalytic converters are devices under vehicles that convert toxic gasses and pollutants into less-toxic pollutants. They have become increased targets for theft because the costs of platinum, palladium and rhodium -- which are used for catalytic converters -- have risen in recent years.

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In February, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón called on state legislators to approve a measure requiring auto dealers to engrave vehicle identification numbers on catalytic converters. That measure, Senate Bill 986, was approved by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on Monday, which Gascón celebrated as "the first step toward protecting our community members from catalytic converter theft."

According to Moore, 20% of thefts from vehicles in Los Angeles involve catalytic converters.

RELATED: 'Catalytic converter theft ring': 3 Los Angeles men arrested in Ventura County

The devices have also been stolen from city-owned vehicles, including 39 over Christmas weekend, costing taxpayers about $74,000. In March 2021, the city also lost dozens of catalytic converters following a break-in at a city yard in Lincoln Heights, where catalytic converters were stolen from 68 vehicles.

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