LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Catalytic converter thefts have increased by more than 1000% percent in just the last three years according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

One city is fighting back with new rules they hope will curb the trend.

North Las Vegas has passed a new ordinance going after catalytic converter thieves. This new ordinance will make it harder for criminals to sell or transfer catalytic converters and allow for the prosecution to happen. 

“The punishments consist of up to six months in jail and up to a one thousand dollar fine if you are illegally in possession of a catalytic converter. The ordinance depicts who’s legally in possession versus who is illegally,” explained Assistant Police Chief Michael Harris, of the North Las Vegas Police Department.

While it takes criminals minutes to steal one off of a vehicle the payday for them could be around two hundred dollars. Meanwhile, the car owner could end up paying between $500 to $2,000 for a repair.

“We’re seeing probably one a month just here of someone getting their cat stolen,” Brandon Ross manager at ProCare Automotive said.

There are some ways to protect yourself. “One of the things we offer are engraving tools so citizens can put their personal information on them to prevent or at least deter criminals from going and getting those things,” Assistant Chief Harris said.

Another tactic is installing cages around your catalytic converter. “You can try to make a cage or some companies that have cages already made for your car. Such as the Prius, they already have that out. If not come to any shop that can do fabrication and they can make you one,” said Ross.

In the unfortunate case that you do become a victim of a catalytic converter theft make sure you report it to law enforcement and then get your vehicle to a shop as soon as you can because it’s not good for your vehicle to drive around without one.