By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 25, 2024.
The Alberta Motor Association has launched its expanded “Tag Your Cat Program,” which lets vehicle owners have their catalytic converters engraved to deter thieves.
The program runs until March 31 and is partnership between the AMA and Kal Tire. It includes participation from law enforcement agencies in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat Calgary, Edmonton and Camrose.
The AMA said last year within these communities more than 2,800 Albertans participated in “Tag Your Cat.”
“The reality is that (thefts of) catalytic converters are an ongoing problem across the province” and people aren’t powerless in the fight against it, said AMA Manager of Advocacy Dominic Schamuhn in an interview.
“And so engraving your catalytic converter is one of the ways that we can all collectively take action against this pervasive crime and support the work of law enforcement and prosecuting it.”
This is the second year AMA will be running this program. Schamuhn described the benefit of engraving catalytic converters and how it assists law enforcement in identifying the rightful owner of one.
“A catalytic converter that’s been engraved is traceable by law enforcement. Once it’s off the vehicle, there’s no identifying markers unless you have it engraved. And when has that been done it’s visible to law enforcement” and tells them it’s stolen property, said Schamuhn.
“It also gives them the opportunity to trace it back to its original owner, which then gives them the ability to prosecute,” he said.
Engraving costs $40 with AMA members getting a five per cent discount. Schamuhn said the AMA is excited to be collaborating with the RCMP.
“When we brought it back for the next couple of months, we wanted to also expand it to the rest of the province. And we’re really excited to be adding on the Alberta RCMP. It’s now a province-wide program available to Albertans. And we hope that they will take up the opportunity to have their catalytic converter engraved.”
He said the AMA wanted to create as a tool people could use to combat auto theft.
“We also wanted to make sure that when folks had heard about this from AMA that we also then gave them a tool and an opportunity that they can take some preventative action. And we wanted to not just make folks aware, but also provide them an opportunity to take action and not only for themselves, but also for the support of law enforcement and hopefully in service of making a safer community for all of us,” said Schamuhn.