Auto theft in its various forms has been a nationwide problem for several years. In 2020, according to the FBI, there were more than 800,000 auto thefts in the United States. The reasons are varied including a rise during the pandemic from vehicles sitting unused and many unemployed individuals looking for some monetary gain through the sale of various parts such as catalytic converters.

The University of New Mexico has also seen its share of auto theft, and now, University officials are taking a proactive approach offering auto theft deterrents. The UNM Bookstore offered Club Steering Wheel Locks in 2018 to help prevent a growing number of auto thefts at the time and has now added the CatClamp® to help deter the theft of catalytic converters. The CatClamp® is the patented original converter lock, that has proven to be 99.9% effective for over 10 years around the world.

The CatClamp® is a catalytic converter lock that deters thieves.

“Thefts of catalytic converters have become commonplace around the country partly due to the perceived value from the precious metals they contain,” said UNM Chief of Police Joseph Silva. “Typically, an adept thief only needs 60 seconds to steal a catalytic converter. The higher the vehicle is off the ground the faster the process. Prevention can be a key to curbing this type of crime, which can be as simple as an anti-theft device like the CatClamp®.” 

The CatClamp® was invented by the owner of American Welding Inc., a reputable custom fabrication shop in Toledo, Ohio. Developed through a coordinated effort among engineers, metalworking professionals, and large fleet managers, CatClamp® was designed to prevent thieves from stealing catalytic converters, which are sold for scrap at recycling shops.

It's exclusive, award-winning, patented cable cage design surrounds the catalytic converter with aircraft-grade wire rope that is very difficult to cut, even with power tools. The same wire rope locks the converter to the chassis of the vehicle up to seven times, creating too much work for a thief in a hurry. CatClamp® attaches to the exhaust pipes, not the converter, allowing all size and shape converters to be protected.

With its universal design, one size fits most vehicles, the CatClamp® has been a proven success for over 10 years. Additionally, installation of the CatClamp® may qualify your auto insurance policy for a discount, check with your auto insurance company for details.

“The Campus Community is frustrated with the catalytic converter theft epidemic,” said Emergency Manager Byron Piatt. “To help curb thefts from campus, the University has partnered with CatClamp® to make catalytic converter locks available through the UNM Bookstore. We faced a similar situation years ago with auto thefts on campus.

“To combat those thefts, UNM partnered with Winner International to provide Club Steering Wheel Locks at a reduced price through the Bookstore. We saw a dramatic decrease in car thefts and attempted thefts for those vehicles using the Club.”

Twin Hook
The Club Twin Hook Steering Wheel Lock is also available at the UNM Bookstore.

In addition to the CatClamp®, The Club Steering Wheel Locks are back on the shelves at the UNM Bookstore. Both products are being sold below regular retail prices to help support safety initiatives at UNM and to help in the reduction and prevention of auto theft and bicycle theft crimes on campus. The Club is placed on your steering wheel and prevents car theft because the vehicle is immobilized. Thieves become discouraged from stealing your car with its highly visible, bright yellow Twin Hooks design steering wheel lock.

“The Club is another anti-theft device that makes it difficult if not impossible for a thief to drive a vehicle without removing it,” said Silva. “There are also other do-it-yourself mitigation strategies that can be found on-line that can help in reducing thefts and provide peace of mind to car owners on our campus.”

The CatClamp® is now available at the UNM Bookstore at a discounted rate of $199.99, while The Club Twin Hook Steering Wheel Lock is sold for $21.99. A UNM discount to install the CatClamp® is available at the Galles Chevrolet Service Center at 10 percent off labor with a maximum discount of $50. Installation typically takes about an hour. Be sure to take your LOBOCARD for the discount.

“I am happy the UNM Bookstore is able to purchase and have these tools available to help with the prevention of vehicle theft and vandalism at UNM and in the community,” said UNM Bookstore Director Lisa Walden. “We know that both UNM PD and the University Emergency Manager endorse these auto theft deterrents.”

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