Catalytic converter thieves look out: The next car you strike could be monitored by the Costa Mesa Police Department.

On Thursday, police announced on social media that they have noticed “an increase in catalytic converter thefts throughout the city and it continues to be an issue.”

In 2020, there were 115 catalytic converter thefts in the city. In 2021, however, there were far more: 318, according to police.

Costa Mesa is far from the only city to suffer from these specialized thieves, said city spokesperson Roxi Fyad.

“It’s not just a Costa Mesa problem. It’s a countywide problem, it’s a statewide problem. We’re just seeing a lot of catalytic converter thefts,” Fyad said.

In response, Costa Mesa police are instituting a “Bait Program.”

“The police department has parked several different bait cars throughout Costa Mesa neighborhoods and officers are working in an undercover capacity to catch thieves in the act,” police said.

Police have erected digital signs warning of the bait cars, though officers likely won’t share more information beyond what they already have.

“Which cars? Where? We won’t tell. Just know that we are in the area monitoring,” police said.