How to Guard Your Small Business from Scrap Metal Theft

CNBC describes copper theft as an “epidemic” sweeping across the country with thieves hitting everything from middle class homes, catalytic converters, and highway construction sites to electrical power stations in search of scrap copper. Even tornado warning sirens and airport runways have been targeted by copper thieves posing a major risk to safety and infrastructure according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The CNBC article highlights that the business of copper theft has become a $1 billion, yes with a “B,” industry.

Unfortunately, this thievery isn’t limited to copper. Brass grave markers are disappearing from cemeteries throughout the country. Other scrap metals that are commonly targeted include stainless steel, nickel, aluminum, and scrap iron.

What does this have to do with small businesses? Small businesses often have fleet vehicles, air conditioning units, electrical panels, and countless other large and small items scrap metal thieves target. The key is to make your small business an unattractive target for those intent on scrap metal theft.

What Small Businesses are Vulnerable to Scrap Metal Thieves?

There are many small businesses that are particularly vulnerable to scrap metal thieves. Not all of them are immediately obvious. They include:

Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list. The truth is that any business that has an air conditioning unit, rain gutters, water lines, electrical wiring, flashings, etc. is a potential target.

How can Business Guard Against Scrap Theft?

The best way, by far, to deter scrap metal thieves is to make your business an unattractive target. It doesn’t matter how much scrap you have laying around your business if thieves are likely to get caught by trying to steal it. Preventative action today can save your business a lot of money, headaches, and hassle in the future.


  • Keep the exterior of your business well lit. Also remove shrubbery and trees from around buildings. You want to give thieves nowhere to hide while trying to access or load the scrap metal you have available.
  • Install security cameras that actually record what’s going on around your property and have them pointed in strategic location. This serves to deter thieves on the one hand and helps to identify them on the other. It’s a small investment for the benefit it provides your business.
  • Keep scrap metals and other appealing targets locked away out of sight. If people don’t know where the scrap metal is located, even if they know it’s likely on the property, they’ll be much less inclined to search for it.

Small changes in the way you do business can yield big results in defending your business against people who are trying to steal scrap metals. Despite your best efforts at prevention, however, there are times when thieves are just bold enough to try anyway. That’s why it’s so important for businesses today to protect themselves with a crime insurance policy.