SAN MATEO, Calif. (BCN) — The San Mateo Police Department has become the first law enforcement agency in California to offer a self-install marking kit designed to combat the theft of catalytic converters in automobiles.

With catalytic converter thefts on the rise — California leads the nation in catalytic converter theft cases with over 10,000 reported stolen between July 2021 and last June — San Mateo has recognized the effect these thefts have had on vehicle owners and is taking action to combat the problem.

The department has purchased 500 Catguard self-install marking kits for residents of San Mateo. The marking kits include two ultra-destruct labels with an identification number (that will break into pieces if an attempt is made to remove it), metal etching fluid, two windows stickers, and information on how to register in the Catguard database.

San Mateo police officials selected Catguard kits because of how easily, quickly and conveniently the units can be installed by a vehicle owner. Unlike traditional “etch and sketch” campaigns which require the assistance of mechanics or persons comfortable with power tools, Catguard units can easily be installed by a lay person.

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The department has partnered with three local auto body shops across the city: Claremont Automotive, 945 S. Claremont St.; E&J Auto Repair, 317 S. Norfolk St. #3010; and Ma’s Auto Repair & Smog, 2660 S. El Camino Real, to assist any residents apprehensive about installing the sticker on their catalytic converters themselves.

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