Dec 11

Catalytic Converter Thefts – Info & Tips from the 13th District

Sergeant Juan Clas – Community Policing Officer for the 13th District recently sent out this alert regarding the thefts we’ve been seeing in our neighborhood and throughout the city of catalytic converters.

What are catalytic converters, and why is catalytic converter theft common?

Catalytic converters are devices that reduce pollution-causing emissions. Since 1975, all vehicles produced in the United States must have a catalytic converter as part of the exhaust system. The precious metals inside act as catalysts; when hot exhaust enters the converter, a chemical reaction occurs that renders toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, into less harmful emissions.

Stolen catalytic converters are sold to scrap yards for around $100 to $150, and when you consider the current prices for precious metals you can understand the demand. Rhodium sells for roughly $9,500 an ounce, while platinum pays at about $2,000.

Meanwhile, victims of catalytic converter theft are left to deal with the aftermath. There’s the hassle of a vehicle that can’t be safely driven, and the impact that has on your business. There’s the high expense of having it towed to a local repair shop. And replacement of a stolen catalytic converter can run anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Nationwide’s comprehensive car insurance for businesses and individuals covers these repairs. If you are not insured with Nationwide be sure to check your commercial auto insurance policy to ensure that you are covered.

What thieves look for

Vehicles that sit higher from the ground, such as trucks, pick-ups and SUVs, are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft because thieves can slide underneath without having to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the converter. With just a few cuts of a battery-powered saw, the catalytic converter can be stolen in less than a minute.

Catalytic converter thefts typically happen to vehicles that are parked for prolonged periods of time in large lots, such as shopping centers, mass transit commuter lots or company parking lots. “Corporate fleets are particularly vulnerable, because thieves can hit multiple vehicles in a single location,” says Ekiss. “And if that happens, it can shut down a business for days.”

Smart steps for preventing catalytic converter theft

Preventing catalytic converter theft on your vehicle is a matter of common sense and some research.

1. Always park in well-lighted areas.

2. At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close the entrance of the building, or near the access road where there’s a lot of traffic.

3. If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that’s busy during the day and secured at night.

4. Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable. This can act as a catalytic converter theft deterrent and help with local police investigations.

5. Purchase a vehicle security system, and make sure its set to triggered with just the slightest motion.

6. Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame.

7. Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or on the Internet.




(n.d.). Business alert: Catalytic converter theft. Retrieved from Safety and loss control website: http://www.nationwide.com/catalytic-converter-

Sgt. Juan Clas
Community Policing Office
937 N. Wood S .
Chicago , IL 60622
Main: (312) 746-8355
Direct: (312) 743-1271
Fax: (312) 746-6736
Email: juan.clas@chicagopolice.org
CAPS Email: CAPS.013District@chicagopolice.org

Remember, rather than calling 911, you may call 311 to have a police officer complete a report for incidents such as theft, criminal damage to property, lost property, and other non-emergency situations.

Nov 11

Community Safety Seminar hosted by the 13th District


Last Thursday, the Aldermen from the 1st and 32nd wards met with leaders in the Ukrainian Village area and representatives of the 13th Police District about the recent robberies that have occurred in the area.   As a result of that meeting, the 13th Police District will be hosting a Community Safety Seminar on Wednesday, November 16 at noon in the basement of St. Nicholas Church, 2238 W. Rice St. ( please enter on the Rice side) .

Oct 11

Make Your Voice Heard About the Closing of the 13th Police District

Nothing has been made official yet, but there is serious talk of closing the 13th Chicago Police District on Wood Street and merging us with a district north or south of us. This could not come at a worse time as we’ve seen an unusual increase in crime in our area this summer and into the fall. We are not the only neighborhood in the 13th District and all of us want to make sure our voices are heard.

This petition is available online for signatures – take a look and add your name if you’d like to prevent the closing of the 13h Chicago Police District.

There is a special Beat 1312 Emergency Stakeholders’ Meeting this Thursday at 5pm  St Helen’s (2347 W Augusta). The topic will be the crime and burglaries that are going on in the area, and the Commander of the 13th District will be there conducting the meeting along with our usual CAPS facilitator. This meeting has been canceled.

Beat 1312 runs from Rockwell to Damen, Chicago to Division.
CAPS MEETING REMINDER: Please be sure that you and all your neighbors attend the CAPS regular meeting on Tuesday October 11th, also at St. Helen’s School, at 7:00pm.  Make your voices heard!

Aug 11

UVNA Meeting Notes – Thursday August 18th

New Location: St. Helen’s School, 2347 W. Augusta Blvd. (downstairs cafeteria)

Time: 6:30pm

  • Neighborhood Safety-Recent Events
    • There has been a recent upswing in burglaries of homes and garages lately in our neighborhood.  Most recently a multi-unit building on Damen & Iowa was broken into on Tuesday (8/16) which sparked the creation of a new private group on Facebook called Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Watch. Anyone on Facebook can request to be a member.
    • The Facebook group has immediately grown in number and individuals have reported numerous break-ins and break-in attempts that have occurred in the last month or two in our neighborhood.
    • Official Reports (courtesy of everyblock.com) include:  ( The reporting on everyblock.com  has a few days delay so the most recent burglary on Damen/Iowa is not appearing yet. )
      • August 7th – Residential garage burglaries on the 2000 block of West Walton and the 2200 block of West Augusta
      • August 6th – Residential garage burglary on the 2000 block of West Walton,  Apartment burglary in the 2300 block of Augusta
      • August 4th – Theft from a porch/hallway in the 1000 block of N. Oakley, Vandalism in the front yard, 2000 block of West Rice
      • August 3rd – Residential garage burglaries in the 800 block of North Hoyne, 2000 block of W. Iowa (2), 2300 block of West Walton (2), and an apartment burglary in the 2000 block of West Augusta.
    • We encourage everyone to attend their area CAPS meeting to keep up-to-date with recent events, talk to the local police in district 13, and most importantly, get to know your neighbors.  Ukrainian Village falls with beat 1312 which holds it’s monthly CAPS meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at St. Helen’s School, also in the cafeteria, at 7:00pm. (Check the website for District 13 to see which beat your street falls within if you are outside of Ukrainian Village proper).
  • Two common themes have appeared related to these burglaries
    • Reports of a silver or gray Honda Pilot cruising slowly down the street as if looking for parking,  but actually casing residences to find out who is home when. If you see a car that fits this description and behavior please call it in to 911 right away.
    • Other reports have been of a blue pick-up truck that looks like a salvage truck, also waiting, parked outfront or in back of a residence where it doesn’t really belong.  CAPS officers have told us repeatedly to always call 911 if you see something suspicious.

  • Neighborhood Safety-What We Can Do
    • Attend your beat CAPS meeting!! Since beat 1312 doesn’t meet again until 9/13 , here are more things we can do to protect our neighborhood:
    • Take the usual safety precautions – lock your doors, windows, don’t leave items visible in cars, let trusted neighbors know if you will be away for an extended period of time.
    • Pay attention to your neighbors, to dog-walkers, regular alley scavengers – know who belongs and who does not.
    • If you see something suspicious or out of place – call 911. If you see it again  call 911 again.  CAPS stresses the use of 911 as a reporting mechanism – multiple calls for the same event/address/suspicious behavior draw attention to it – they are not treated as ‘duplicate’ calls.  Surrounding neighborhoods (like Smith Park) rely heavily on 911 reporting by multiple people for single events.
    • Share information with your neighbors, whether it be online, email, or talking in person

      We can work together as a neighborhood to make sure our Aldermen know how unacceptable we find this increase in crime.  The UVNA will be drafting up a basic letter to send to both the 1st and 32nd ward aldermen, and we will send it out to all our members to re-use so that we send a concerted message to them about these recent criminal events. As we’ve heard from other neighborhoods, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so to speak.  We will post the letter on this site as well.

    • And again, please attend the next beat 1312 CAPS meeting on 9/13!
  • Update on the stoplight installation at Hoyne & Chicago
    • Per our last meeting with the 1st and 32nd wards, they have agreed to split the cost
      • both wards have allocated funds in their respective menu budgets
      • both wards are also supposed to talk to CDOT to see if they will tell us where it is at in the priority queue.  Read more details on this issue and a recap of that meeting here.
  • Update on the Blue Recycling Bins
    • Most of Ukrainian Village has never had blue recycling bins. Now that the city wants to privatize this service, the word is that they have a bid out to test a private service against the city service and our neighborhood is high on the list to be one of the test neighborhoods – could happen this fall. Just waiting for the contract to be signed
  • Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association Meet & Greet
    • We have proposed that next month’s meeting be held at a local restaurant/bar as more of a social event.  Right now we are looking at the following locations – we need room for 20-30 people:
    • If you can suggest any other locations for a Thursday night meeting, please let us know at info@uvna.org
  • Request for Thoughts and Volunteers – neighborhood architectural tour/steeple-chase (as in Church Steeples)
  • We’ve wanted to get a garden walk or some similar event going in our neighborhood that focuses on the unique aspects of our area.  The plethora of churches and their history and architecture was one such idea. We’re considering trying to plan one for next spring, summer, or fall.  If you would like to help research a plan to put in front of our group for consideration, please send us an email at info@uvna.org.


Aug 11

Alert: Attempted Residential Break-in Yesterday Afternoon

Yesterday one of our neighbors who lives near Damen & Iowa reported an attempted break-in at the building in the middle of the afternoon.

It looked kinda like a truck the scrappers who pick up metal and appliances drive. This truck was parked in front of our building as he was ringing the doorbell and was no longer there after he ran away. The man was a tall, skinny black dude in his late 30’s. He was wearing a White Sox hat, a tan work shirt, and dark work pants.

You can read all the details here on their post on the Ukrainian Village neighborhood page on everyblock.com.

You may recall there were some break-ins in that area about a month ago, and we’ve heard of a number of garages and residences being broken into this summer along Walton, Augusta, Iowa, Leavitt and Rice.   Last week District 13 police issued a crime alert relating to the recent burglaries and the description is similar to the one mentioned yesterday.

District 13 Crime Alert Ukrainian Village – August 9th 2011

If you see anything suspicious please be sure to call 911 to report it,  and don’t forget to attend the CAPS meeting for our area as well.  Ukrainian Village is part of the 13th Chicago Police Distrcit and falls within beat 1312. Beat 1312 meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at St. Helen’s School.   Check out the calendar for the district for other area CAPS meetings.

If you want to follow recent crime statistics for our neighborhood, you can check the crime information page on our website or visit everyblock.com and look for crime statistics for a particular neighborhood or zip code.  They also allow you to subscribe to daily email updates of newly reported crimes in a certain area.