It is a good idea to physically inspect your serpentine belt from time to time. Check for cracks, chunks missing, abrasions, rib separation, uneven rib wear, and damaged ribs. If you notice any of these, it is time to replace your serpentine/drive belt.
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced new actions to increase interagency vehicle and catalytic converter theft enforcements in high-theft areas by targeting unauthorized and illegal vehicle dismantlers, or "chop shops." The Governor also signed legislation (S.9428/ A.1940-E) to combat the theft of catalytic converters, which imposes restrictions on the purchase, sale, and possession of catalytic converters by vehicle dismantlers and scrap processers. VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here. AUDIO of the event is available here. PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page. A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks are available below: Good morning. Welcome to a garage. Not our usual venue, but this is not an unusual announcement to make here today. So, first, I want to thank everyone at Troop L Headquarters for hosting us here today, and to acknowledge the presence of some amazing elected officials who've had the honor to work with over a long time. And I'm starting with our County Executive, Steve Bellone. Thank you for all you have done. You've been side by side with us in the trenches as we work together to make Long Island safety, especially your home of Suffolk County. So, thank you, County Executive. Also, Diane Savino has joined us, our state Senator. Anna Kaplan is here. Thank you, Anna Kaplan. John Brooks is here, Senator. Our Assemblymembers, Chuck Lavine, Gina Sillitti, Judy Griffin. And also, we are joined by someone I've known a long time and that is our DMV Commissioner, Mark Schroeder, and I want to thank you for everything you have done. Major Steve Udice, you'll be hearing from him shortly, as well as an individual, Eric Tenner's going to share a personal experience he had. One that has been replicated far too often. So, great feedback on Long Island. I literally snuck into one of your great diners Sunday morning. You didn't see me there, but I'm always there. I think it was in New Hyde Park. We stopped in - had a really good breakfast. So, I didn't want to miss the chance to come back. We were just here to announce the completion of the Long Island Railroad Third Track, and so there are so many great things happen. But you've heard me talk about a lot of challenges we've had here in the State of New York with respect to crime. I mean, it's not just New York, it is nationwide, and we continue to be laser-focused. One of our highest priorities, I've said since I first took office, will be increasing public safety overall. And today, we're here to talk about a unique crime. One that maybe not was top of mind for a lot of people even the last couple of years, but has really risen to the top of why we have an increasing crime rate. And that's the theft of catalytic converters. And it's not just, as I said, New York, a New York issue, it's a rising spike all over the country. But thefts here in New York State have just risen exponentially, and I'll get into the numbers, but there are reasons why they're targeting these crimes in our state. But we do take the effort to focus on crimes overall very, very seriously. And we are making progress. Let's just talk about one crime that really frightens people and that is gun violence, shootings. And we're not done yet, but the fact that shootings are down 13 percent in New York State is really extraordinary. Those are good numbers. It could have been up 13 percent. Other parts of the country, they're seeing a decrease in shootings of about 2 percent. So, down 13 percent statewide, down 14 percent in New York City, down 18 percent on Long Island. And even in places like - and even my hometown of Buffalo, where Mark Schroeder's from, shootings are down 35 percent. So, the same laws apply across the state, but you can see different results. But the result overall is positive, and that is shootings are down, and gun seizures are up. I mean, part of this is a reflection that our gun approach is working. We brought together nine states last January. I spoke about this. Nine states working with NYPD, local police departments, state, federal, local working together to track illegal guns across boundaries and stop them from coming here as well. So, we're trying to focus on progress there, but we do see an uptick in property crimes. And here's the context: from 2019 to 2021, overall property crimes declined with New York having the lowest rate, 30 percent and lower than the national average. But just in 2022, something has happened. New York State has experienced a real rise in property crimes, and what is driving that is thefts of catalytic converters. Now, over the last couple of years, it's increased over 200 percent in some parts of our state. Nassau County, over 1,549 thefts this year compared to 445 last year, a 248 percent increase. Suffolk County, there have been 819 cases up from 289 a year ago, 183 percent increase. And the numbers are even more alarming in New York City. They've actually quadrupled in the city compared to a year ago. So, what's happening? People are targeting driveways and homes and parking lots and dealerships and auto repair shops, and we promised that we'd find ways to do more to protect New Yorkers from these thefts. You think about the cost of your vehicle. After your home, it's your most expensive commodity. You put a lot of money into your vehicle. Some are older. I drive cars into the ground. I sometimes have a 10- or 12-year-old vehicle. It's all right. Some people like a new car of the year, that's great. But what has become so valuable is something known as a catalytic converter. This lovely thing right here. And I'm going to explain to you what this is all about. Why are they occurring? There's a piece in your exhaust system that helps reduce toxic gasses. This is an important part of protecting our environment. It converts them into a safe gas, like a steam. And they do protect the environment. And in fact, it's one of the greatest environmental inventions of our time. Back in 1975, they became required in all vehicles, and we've dramatically reduced the impact on the environment. So, they've been valuable in reducing emissions, but they're also valuable to criminals. And why are they stealing them? Because they contain rare valuable materials like palladium, rhodium, think back to your high school chemistry classes on the chart, and platinum. Those are all the component parts of these converters. And as the price of rare metals has increased, so has catalytic converter theft. See the direct connection there, the price, the product is higher. Criminals are trying to make money off this, and they're stealing them from our cars, and they're very easy to remove. Very easy to remove. Only takes about two minutes. And they have a street value alone of about $200 to $500. So, the thefted one, not only worth $200 to $500 on the street, replacing it costs anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. The larger the vehicle, the more expensive it is to replace. And newer vehicles actually have two converters, so you can have two stolen at the same time. But the hit to our wallet doesn't just stop there. When they take it out, it also increases the likelihood of damage to the vehicle overall, cutting lines. And that can add up to $5,000 to $10,000 worth of damage you have to repair on top of replacing it overall. So, we're emerging from this pandemic. People have enough to deal with in their lives: inflation, everything going up. And now we have a criminal class of people that are now using this, stealing it from our citizens and selling it to various places, chop shops, on the black market. And so now today, instead of just talking about it, we're announcing a very aggressive, targeted approach that we believe will deter criminals from stealing them. So, here's what we're doing. I'll be signing legislation. Again, I thank our legislators for their leadership, and I'll be announcing who was involved in a minute. But we're announcing that we're going to require vehicle dismantlers, which is a nice way of probably saying "chop shops," and the scrap processors, to keep information on anyone who sells them a converter. Let's track who's selling them. Okay? If a theft is reported, we'll know where to get the information. And this will help law enforcement as they conduct their investigations, as they track down these thieves, and also to make sure that these are easily traceable back to the vehicle they were stolen from. We're going to be having dealers offer new etching kits to provide a traceable serial number onto catalytic converters. It's this simple. It's called Catguard. Very clever. What you do, you get one of these packages from your dealer, and you can take this little brush, put this on the catalytic converter. Let's see a demonstration here. This is acid. Be very careful. Don't let your kids get this, but you put the acid on here, swipe it across here, and over time, that'll embed the numbers onto the catalytic converter, and you link them to the DMV database to the vehicle. See how this works? Okay, now they're going to be caught. This gets stolen, we have a responsibility on the chop shops, the processors, to identify who brought it to them, and now we can trace it back to the actual stolen vehicle. So, we believe that getting these out in the hands of dealers and owners and different repair shops is going to make a big difference in dealing with the crisis. So also, I'm directing our State Police, which is why we're here at Troop L, to talk about our local relationships here. You'll hear a little bit about that, but also, I want them to work with our state and local policing agencies and crackdown in the high theft areas. We know where they are. We can track them. We have technology, so I'm offering State Police assistance to work with our local police so that we can have various teams to go out to crack down on these steps as well because working together is how we're going to succeed in accomplishing this. I'm also instructing the DMV and State Police to use legislation to trace stolen converters all the way back to those that may be already at illegal dismantlers. So, they're going to go visit the shops, talk to them, find out if they can help work on tracing these catalytic converters as well. Also, I want to give people resources. Everybody says, "Sure, you passed a law. It's now going to be a local cost." I spent a lot of years in local government. I know local governments don't like unfunded mandates, so we need to give you some support. We have $3.7 million for the Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Board. We're going to be analyzing thefts by region, and also, we mentioned insurance. I mean, this is a driver of insurance rates. You know, there should be - you know, we'll have conversations about this, but with our insurance companies, those individuals who have taken these precautionary steps, you know, this could be an area where we can see a reduction in insurance costs for those so-called safe drivers, get reduction in insurance costs. Why not? People have taken these steps against theft as well. So, we're also adding funding to 28 law enforcement agencies and community-based programs and here's some money coming your way. Nassau County Police Department, 114,000. Nassau County District Attorney, 114. Suffolk County Police Department, 123,556. I'll give you the change there, County Executive. Also, the Suffolk County District Attorney, $283,000. So, that's why we're serious about this. We know if we're going to put additional responsibilities on your shoulders to give you the resources to pay for it. But it's not all we're doing to support law enforcement in this. I'm proud to announce $20 million in new technologies, such as license plate readers and surveillance cameras, that can aid in the detection, prevention, and prosecution of car and catalytic converter thefts. So, we're going to be helping with that as well, a significant amount of money, and this will allow localities to purchase the technologies that they can do for this surveillance and help law enforcement actually prosecute and stop the crimes from happening. So, we're going to double down on these efforts because this is a serious problem. No one should have to worry about it. This is an enormous cost for families. They don't need the stress. They don't need the worry. You shouldn't have to, you know, go to bed at night wanting if someone stealing this valuable commodity out of your own driveway because people deserve to be safe, whether they're in their own home, streets, trains, subways, wherever they are. So, we believe that the measures we're talking about today will go a long way toward addressing the thefts. I do want to thank Diane Savino, Anna Kaplan for championing this. Diane Savino started, and Anna Kaplan is working closer with her, and also our other legislators for really bringing these ideas to the legislature, getting our attention on a way we can start solving this because this hits people where it hurts the most, hits them in their pocketbooks. And any time government can work together, collaborate to help solve this, we'll be doing this as well. So, we want the criminals to know the gig's up. We're coming. We have the resources, the technology, and the will to stop these crimes from happening. So, in addition to the reduction in shootings and homicides, we start seeing a reduction in property theft, most valuable items, and then people start realizing that we're doing everything we can. We'll continue to drive down the crime rate in our state, which is really important. So, that's the New York I want to live in. A place where people are safe, feel safe, and that we start hitting all these crimes, exactly where they're happening, and this is what we're announcing here today. So, I want to thank everyone who's involved here. I want to invite Major Stephen Udice, our Commander from State Police, who's going to talk about exactly what this is going to look like. Commander, thank you very much. 2b1af7f3a8