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Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Catalytic Converter Theft Study by BeenVerified

Entered in Insights & Trends


The theft of catalytic converters made headlines in 2020, as police departments nationwide and car insurance companies reported a record surge of criminals stealing the part, which is laden with precious metals that help clean car exhaust. 

Catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium or rhodium, precious metals that have seen their value skyrocket over the past two years. The theft of a catalytic converter can be done in minutes by culprits, who then resell to recyclers for between $50 and $250 per part. The cost to repair is between $1,000 and $3,000, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

BeenVerified set out to help consumers understand which states across the U.S. were experiencing the largest increase in this crime, as well as quantify the car make and models that were being targeted by criminals. The study was created with the intention of building brand awareness and recognition by way of social engagement, branded mentions and links to the analysis from local and national media publications.


Strategy and Execution

With no available data source on this pandemic-driven type of auto theft for us to access and roadblocks from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and car insurance companies on making their data publicly accessible, BeenVerified extrapolated their analysis using a strategy new to the brand. 

Looking at the total number of reported thefts nationally by the NICB in 2019 and 2020, BeenVerified compared state and national statistics of associated Google searches relating to “catalytic converter theft” during the same time frame and found that search traffic on the term reliably follows a pattern: For every 10 searches, there is on average one reported catalytic converter theft.

Based on two years of data and the trend we discovered that related to Google searches, BeenVerified was able to narrow down and get accurate estimates of the number of thefts in every state in the country, in real-time. This provided a data source for reporters at both the national and local level, as well as positioned the company to share actionable consumer advice and reinforce its mission to empower consumers through data.  

BeenVerified updated the study three separate times to show quarterly changes over time and fluctuations by state, which provided the team with an updated piece of content that continues to be relevant, pitched and earning media coverage today. The study also features two interactive, searchable data visualizations that display the trend and changes in a reporter or a consumer's local state. 


BeenVerified analyzed 2019 and 2020 insured catalytic converter theft data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and January 2019 through December 2021 search data from Google to make its findings. We found searches and thefts have a strong positive correlation (r(22)=.98, p < .01). 

Original findings posted on 6/18/2021



The BeenVerified team not only met the objective of securing media coverage in terms of links and mentions but also set the stage for this study to become the top performer of any analysis to date for the company. The study received coverage from USA Today, LA Times, Yahoo News, NBC, The Chicago Tribune, and many other tier 1 digital news and TV outlets in addition to hundreds of others on a local and state level.

2021 links earned: 409

2022 links earned: 44

2021 branded mentions: 39

2022 branded mentions: 5

Campaign total links: 453

Campaign total mentions: 49

Journalist reach: 222.59K

(Journalist reach combines the total number of people following the journalists who shared this link on Twitter.)

Total engagement: 5,658 ( Number of times a link was shared, commented on or liked on social media networks tracked by Muck Rack. Twitter engagement only includes shares from journalists.)

Total UVM: 212.98M, according to SimilarWeb


Video for Catalytic Converter Theft Study by BeenVerified

Entrant Company / Organization Name

BeenVerified, part of The Lifetime Value Company


Entry Credits