Today, in North-East London, common cabbing cars take the form of the common Toyota Prius. This quick-establishing vehicle became very popular to those in the cabbing service. This car may rank high in the hybrid and electric cars leader board, but this powertrain has been vulnerable to plenty of gangs and thieves. Why, you may ask? These cars have an important component infamously known as the Catalytic Converter. This component acts as an exhaust control as it reduces pollutants and toxic gases - products of the combustion reactions within the engine and reduces vehicle pollution. These converters Especially in the early months of this year, around 2900 converters have been ripped from underneath the original vehicle. So what must be so valuable about these apparatuses and why is it so appealing to the lowly thugs of the local area? These have become, unfortunately, so popular due to its high value among dealers. The converters costly and treasurable metals like Platinum, the catalyst, and others like Palladium and Rhodium. Additionally, the converters can be unbolted with ease as it can be cut out in a horrifically short duration of 5-10 minutes. 

One of the many victims of this irritating and disruptive crime is Mustafa Mohammed –an Uber Driver working in Central London. Muhammed took the day off during a weekday as per usual on a sunny Wednesday leaving the car in broad daylight and on his fairly populated home street, unknowing of the fact that it would be the last time he’d drive his Prius for two months. Conveniently, he was cleaning up his balcony when he saw his car being lifted by three older men who posed as mechanics wearing their falsely advertised construction jackets. By the time he ran to his beloved car and work-mobile, the thieves sped off completing their task. Muhammed thought that they were attempting to take his tires but failed.

“I was relieved, I thought I scared them off and was glad that they were unable to do what I thought was steal my tires” he tells me. Sadly, he soon discovered that not all was well. He learnt of this new component on the day it was stolen from him. “It’s not like I had a good alternative. I’m not a teacher or businessman who can commute to their work. 

“My car is my work and I had to struggle a lot during these two months. I lost money in too many ways all because of 5 minutes.” Muhammed told me that he lost money in several ways such as sending his car to the garage; hiring a new vehicle and paying for his extra children’s travel to school.

As of now, Muhammed has got his car back but still suffers with the fear of it all happening again. Unfortunately, despite contacting the council about security cameras, nothing has been done and instead his street is only changing for an appealing appearance. Hopefully, we can benefit from the large amount of theft as it could be the only way it can be brought to the local council’s attention.  

-Mohammed Rebut Kamal