As if 2020 didn’t have enough problems, it appears to have also caused a drastic increase in catalytic converter thefts. You may wonder what the pandemic and the catalytic converters have in common, but to law enforcement and claims professionals, this is not the first time they’ve seen a spike in the costly crime. The last significant increase was during the recession in 2008. When the economy struggles, crimes go up, and many cities across America have seen an increase in the reported thefts by 300%. More from Central Mutual.