City Approves Buy-One-Get-One Community Gift Cards, Catalytic Converter Theft Deterrent Programs

Posted: Monday, October 10, 2022

Lake Forest residents will soon be able to buy a community gift card and get a second card of the same value free, under a program approved by the City Council on Tuesday. The cards would be redeemable at any local business that signs up to participate in the program. The Council also approved two programs to help residents protect their vehicles from catalytic converter theft. Once fully implemented, residents will be able to have their catalytic converters painted and etched for free or receive a $250 rebate towards the purchase and installation of a theft deterrent metal plate.

The City Council unanimously approved both measures.

The Community Gift Card Program is designed to help restaurants, hospitality businesses, and other local businesses rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Residents will be able to buy a card for $25, $50, or $100 online and receive a second digital card of equal value. The cards could then be used at participating Lake Forest restaurants and local businesses. The Council allocated $575,000 for the program, which will pay for the gift cards as well for assistance in marketing the program by the Lake Forest Chamber of Commerce.

City staff will work to get the Community Gift Card Program set up in time for residents to buy the cards for the holidays, and link will be posted on the City’s website, www.lakeforestca.gov. Similar programs have been produced in cities across California as a way to help businesses rebound from COVID-19 restrictions and their associated economic ripple effects. For more information, see the staff report at https://bit.ly/LFEconAssistance.

The City Council also approved two programs for residents to take steps to protect their vehicle’s catalytic converters. The anti-theft devices are targeted for thefts nationwide because they contain precious metals that fetch a high recycling value. In 2021, about 10 catalytic converters were reported stolen in Lake Forest each month.

Under the program, residents who take their high-target vehicle to a pre-approved shop to have their vehicle identification number etched on the converter for free. The etching deters thieves because law enforcement can link a stolen converter back to the owner. Residents will also have the option of purchasing and having a local shop install a metal theft deterrent shield over their catalytic converter.  Residents that opt for the shield program will receive a $250 rebate on their purchase, so long as the shield is installed by a participating local business. City staff hope to have the catalytic converter programs up and running by December 2022.

The Council, which already approved an ordinance requiring anyone in possession of catalytic converter to prove they acquired it legally, approved a $59,000 budget for the anti-theft programs.

See the staff report on the anti-theft programs at https://bit.ly/CCThefts 

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