The theft of copper and other metals is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. It has even caused some states to pass legislation involving copper buying and selling at recycling yards, in addition to penalizing thieves.
Unfortunately, these thieves are still finding ways around these laws, and are making a small fortune by stealing and selling whatever copper they can find. They find copper at construction sites, in old buildings, in catalytic converters, in overhead power lines, and in air conditioning units that have copper coils.
The Frequency of Copper Theft
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), metal theft have been increasing. Between 2008 and 2012, metal theft has increased by 81 percent, with 25,083 thefts of copper, stainless steel, aluminum, nickel and scrap iron reported between 2009 and 2012. TheDepartment of Energy has also reported that utility companies in the U.S. have suffered a considerable loss of several million dollars due to copper theft.
Why Copper Theft is Rising
One of the reasons copper theft is rising is because of how readily available it is when thieves know where to look. Copper is used in construction sites, on highways, in utility stations, and in foreclosed or vacant homes.
Knowing the high value of copper, thieves are able to exploit it and grab it for scrap, since it is available in everything from electronics and air conditioning units, to plumbing and some tools on equipment sites.
Copper futures trade at a price of around $3 per pound. Copper is considered valuable enough for thieves to steal it.
How to Protect Your Business
As a business owner, you are at risk for copper theft. It is important that you take precautions in order to prevent it from occurring.
Get motion detectors. If you are concerned about the copper in your building structure, install motion detectors. The easiest way to do this is with outdoor lighting that has motion sensors. They will detect a presence, and automatically turn the lights on. This can deter criminals from stealing from your building in the middle of the night.
Trim tall trees. If you have tall trees that provide access to windows of your building, cut them down so thieves can’t use them to get to the top floors of your building.
Have a locked cage around your AC unit. Many air conditioning units contain copper wiring and tubing, which a thief is going to want. Prevent this theft by placing a cage around the unit that locks with a lock that is not easy to open. Most copper thieves won’t bother.
Invest in business insurance. Sometimes, copper theft can’t be prevented, but you can still protect your business. By investing in business insurance, particularly for crimes and thefts, you can cover the losses you experience. You can at least protect your business from copper theft that might occur, with proper business insurance.