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Shoplifting, catalytic converter theft up in Richmond

Posted at 4:46 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 16:46:02-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith updated Richmond on the types crime reported in the city over the first few months of 2022. While the murder rate in the first quarter of the year was on pace with 2021, Chief Smith said violent crime numbers have flattened out. He said property crimes were keeping Richmond's overall major crime rate higher than he'd like.

Data compiled from police reports in the first quarter of 2022 indicated a 37% increase in shoplifting cases, a 35% increase in reported theft from buildings, and a 64% increase in reported theft from vehicles.

Chief Smith called on neighbors to help keep their communities safe.

"That’s why you see package thefts because it's an easy, low-risk opportunity to walk up to someone’s porch, take a package and run," Chief Smith said. "We’re [also] asking you to consider installing cables for your catalytic converter. Be alert at night when it comes down to your neighborhoods."

Richmond Police have made eight arrests associated with nearly 200 reported catalytic converter thefts.

The emission control devices have become popular targets for thieves to cut out of a vehicle’s exhaust system, according to the Associated Press. Thefts have increased across the country over the last two years as prices for the precious metals they contain have skyrocketed.

catalytic converter.jpg
A catalytic converter is an emission control device that has become a popular target for thieves to cut out of a vehicle’s exhaust system. Thefts have increased across the country as prices for the precious metals they contain have skyrocketed.

Pickup trucks are most vulnerable but anti-theft measures like spray painting yours can be a cheap deterrent.

Gun-related crime also remains an issue in Richmond.

"A lot of weapons stolen around the Shockoe Bottom entertainment district," Smith said.

He advocated for portable gun safes that can be bought online for as little as $20. He also recommended people in Richmond install cheap cameras on their cars and homes

Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith.jpg
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith

"It’s a low-risk opportunity and that’s why we have to talk to our citizens about target hardening their property," Smith said.

Click here to see the latest Richmond Police crime statistics.

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