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Edmonton Police Foundation

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Catalytic Converter Theft Challenge presented by Millennium Insurance

This challenge is seeking new sustainable solutions to deter or prevent catalytic converter thefts.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Judging
prize:
$50,000

This challenge is closed

Overview

Challenge Overview

An Edmonton non-profit helping at-risk youth. A family on vacation. A senior at medical appointments. What do these organizations and individuals have in common? They have been victims of the same crime: thieves stealing the catalytic converters beneath their vehicles. While the thief might receive $200 from scrap metal dealers, the vehicle owner pays thousands of dollars for replacement and repairs.

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that transforms hazardous gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic pollutants. Catalytic converters contain precious metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium that act as a catalyst. The soaring price of metals is one of the reasons behind the spike in catalytic converter thefts.

The Edmonton Police Service in partnership with the Edmonton Police Foundation and Millennium Insurance Corporation, is launching a global Community Solutions Accelerator challenge to target and ultimately end catalytic converter thefts. The current theft deterrence products available for purchase by the individual consumer has not curbed the issue of catalytic converter thefts, as the products themselves are not widely purchased by the everyday consumer and theft occurrences continue to rise. 

Solutions involving adding identification markers to catalytic converters, such as etching, do not prevent a thief from cutting the catalytic converter from a vehicle and taking it to a scrap metal dealer willing to accept it.

In 2020, the Protecting Alberta Industry from Theft Act legislation was passed as an effort to curb catalytic converter thefts. Under this legislation, there is a requirement for scrap metal dealers to report transactions to law enforcement and for all payments to be made using traceable forms of currency, such as electronic transfers or cheques. Sellers also need to provide government-issued photo ID with dealers required to record and retain a seller’s ID information, as well as details of the transaction. Additionally, police across the Province have made arrests, conducted checks on scrap metal dealer businesses and implemented focused disruption efforts. Despite all of the above, catalytic converter thefts in Alberta have continued to climb at an alarming rate.

 

In 2021, there were 4797 reported catalytic converter theft occurrences in Alberta, costing Albertans nearly $13 000 000 to fix or replace them.    

 

In Quarter 1 (Q1) 2022, a total of 1550 catalytic converter theft occurrences were reported in Alberta. Below is a geographical breakdown showing the continued increases by comparing Q1 in 2021 to Q1 in 2022 in Alberta: 

 

Edmonton Police Service reported 852 theft occurrences (representing 55% of the total catalytic converter theft occurrences in Alberta). Compared to the previous year, EPS experienced a 47% increase in catalytic converter theft occurrences. 

 

Calgary Police Service reported 334 catalytic converter theft occurrences (representing 22% of the total theft occurrences in Alberta). Comparing Quarter 1-2021 to Quarter 1-2022, Calgary experienced a 96% increase in theft occurrences. 

 

The RCMP reported 360 catalytic converter theft occurrences (representing 23% of the total catalytic converter theft occurrences in Alberta). The Central Alberta District (CAD) represents 19% of the catalytic converter theft occurrences in Q1. The RCMP experienced a 43% increase from Quarter 1-2021 to Quarter 1-2022. 

 

In Q1 of 2022, Alberta scrap metal dealers paid out over $6 million CAD for the catalytic converters they purchased, accounting for 41% of all scrap metal sales in Alberta.

 

So far, no legislation, technology or product has proven to be an effective and sustainable solution to the catalytic converter theft issue, as the thefts continue to increase exponentially. 

 

Below are some videos and articles explaining why thieves are targeting catalytic converters, and showcasing just how widespread the problem is:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1OoxDe-IDg Understanding the wave of catalytic converter thefts.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/catalytic-converter-alberta-stolen-1.6385810 Why catalytic converters are stolen from cars.

https://globalnews.ca/video/8325011/alberta-woman-shocked-by-brazen-catalytic-converter-theft-at-busy-mall Alberta woman shocked by brazen catalytic converter theft at busy mall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAtWUKfIsKw Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in Edmonton…again.

https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/it-s-disheartening-edmonton-area-non-profit-target-for-catalytic-converter-thefts-1.5737780 Edmonton-area non-profit target for catalytic converter thefts.

https://globalnews.ca/news/8677002/catalytic-converter-thefts-expert/ Catalytic converter thefts expected to worsen, expert says.

This challenge is seeking submissions for an innovative sustainable solution to stop catalytic converter thefts from happening and curb this ever-growing issue.

As this is a competitive process, please do NOT reach out to any member of the Edmonton Police Foundation and/or its partners or stakeholders, in relation to providing any information pertaining to a response to this challenge. Any questions can be submitted through this platform (Forum Section) and all submissions must be submitted through this platform. 

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

Challenge structure and overview

This two-phase challenge seeks to identify and test approaches that can significantly decrease or even end the ever-growing catalytic converter theft problem.  There is a total prize purse of $50,000 CAD to award the most compelling approach.  

Phase 1

Phase 1 is open to everyone. In this ideation phase, participants are invited to submit their proposed approaches to significantly decrease or end catalytic converter theft.  Phase 1 winners will be selected based on how their submissions score against the evaluation criteria listed below.  Note that proposed approaches must be demonstrable to advance. Conceptual approaches and those that are not technically mature enough to demonstrate are not of interest.  Up to 5 of the Phase 1 participants will be selected to advance to Phase 2.  

Phase 2

During Phase 2, each participant will virtually demonstrate their proposed approach to a panel of judges that includes community stakeholders impacted by the catalytic converter theft problem. Following the demonstrations from those who participated in Phase 2, the panel of judges will again score participants to determine a winner. 

Time Frames (approximate)

  • Open to submissions August 31st, 2022
  • Informational webinar TBA (all submitters will be notified through the portal)
  • Phase 1 submission deadline November 30th, 2022 @ 5pm ET
  • Phase 1 Reviewing & Judging until December 19th, 2022
  • Phase 1 winners announced December 30th, 2022
  • Phase 2 field trials start January 2023
  • Phase 2 Reviewing & Judging January 2023
  • Grand Prize winner announced January 30th, 2023

 What’s in it for you?

This challenge is offering up to $50,000 CAD in a financial prize, subject to the terms and conditions appended below.  The specifics regarding the number and amount of prizes have been described above in the Challenge Structure and Overview section. Additionally, opportunities exist for successfully field-tested approaches to receive assistance in commercialization.  Such assistance could include a being a reputable paying first customer, providing pre-seed funding, and/or marketing assistance.

What’s in it for the Edmonton Police Foundation (EPF) and the CSA?

The Primary purpose of the Edmonton Police Foundation (and the CSA formed and operated by the EPF) is to support community safety. All parties will act in good faith to ensure the venture Is commercially viable and not hinder it in any way deemed harmful. If a submitter has a commercial solution and charges a license fee, they are welcome to submit their proposal and instead of the prize money, we would negotiate a fair license agreement.

Judging / Scoring

We will be judging/scoring based on the following criteria, at minimum:

Viability of Solution – deployment
How easy is the solution to deploy/install - what are the barriers to entry, etc.

Cost of solution to deploy/install
How cost effective is the solution for a one time and if applicable recurring cost (factor over 3 years)

How creative is the solution
Is this unique/new and creative? Has it been tried before and if so, what were the results

Is the solution scalable
Is this something that can be deployed in other jurisdictions, with ease and simplicity?

Other elements including short list presentations, proof of concept/demo, pilots may also play a factor in the overall judging and scoring. The CSA has the right to amend these criteria at any time, without prior notice.

 

Communication outside this portal

As this is a competitive process, please do NOT reach out to any member of the Edmonton Police Foundation and/or its partners or stakeholders, in relation to providing any information pertaining to a response to this challenge. Any questions can be submitted through this platform (Forum Section) and all submissions must be submitted through this platform. 
 

Timeline
Forum13
Teams1K
Press

Press

Global News Coverage

Aug. 30, 2022, 11 p.m. PDT
Global News Coverage on the challenge

City News Coverage on challenge

Aug. 30, 2022, 11 p.m. PDT
City News Coverage on challenge

EPS Press Release

Aug. 30, 2022, 11 p.m. PDT
Press release on challenge - as issued by EPS

Resources
FAQ