GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a crime you may not even realize, you could be a victim of. But if you have a car, and you’re parking around North Texas, you’ll want to know there’s a piece underneath worth a whole lot of money.

“Every car is typically going to have a converter,” says Sgt. Pete Amaral, with the Grand Prairie Police Department. “Catalytic converters have become very attractive to criminals…the precious metal components that go into the structure of catalytic converters has really has seen a rise in the marketplace.”

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Experts say that catalytic converters can be sawed off a victim’s car in as little as a minute and a half.

“It’s a crime of opportunity that does not require a whole lot of time and therefore presents a challenge for law enforcement to intercept,” Amaral says.

The Grand Prairie Police Department is one who says they’ve seen catalytic converter thefts skyrocket within the last year.

Just last week, they took two men suspected of the crime into custody after finding them crawling under an abandoned vehicle on the side of the road.

That’s why they’ve worked with Grand Prairie’s City Council to come up with a solution for the problem that they say has worked wonders.

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“We have worked locally with the support of our city council to implement a city ordinance that addresses the resale of catalytic converters to recycling organizations within the city of Grand Prairie,” Amaral said.

A citywide ordinance went into effect last month that regulates metal recycling entities, and restricts the sale and purchase of catalytic converters not attached to vehicles.

So far, the department says they’ve seen a 75% reduction in the crime.

But that doesn’t mean, it still doesn’t happen.

“We are seeing offenses in residential driveways, outside people’s homes on the street, parking lots,” Amaral said.

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He says the best things you can do is to park in well-lit areas, be aware of your surroundings, and if you see something suspicious say something.

Nicole Nielsen