SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- Catalytic converter theft is a growing problem all over the country, and Skokie police are doing their part to deter those thefts.
Thieves target catalytic converters for its precious metals. Efforts to stop the thefts include spraying catalytic converts with neon paint and etching ID codes. But Skokie police say an alarm could be more effective.
"In this case, we want to try something different," said John Oakley, Skokie Police Department. "A different approach where we can try to stop the theft before it happens."
Skokie police will give out more than 200 alarms Sunday to residents who registered online. More than 600 people signed up, but priority was given to owners driving the most targeted makes and models.
"We see a lot of the hybrid cars - Toyota Prius, Honda CRV, and anything else that has easy access for criminals to get under the car and access the catalytic converters," Oakley said.
Edmom Gabriel is happy to have an alarm now; a few months ago, his son discovered that his Jeep's catalytic converter was stolen.
"Once he hit the remote start, it sounded like a canon coming out from the street," he said.
The alarm attaches directly to the catalytic converter and goes off when motion is detected. Lee Hardegree of Pro Auto in Morton Grove said it could prevent a lot of headaches for drivers.
"Weekly or sometimes daily we'll get a phone call of someone who's gone through this," he said. "They started up their car and it's making a horrendous noise."
Folks who get the alarm can come right over to Pro Auto from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and they will install the alarms for free.