Metal theft is the stealing of scrap metals such as: copper, aluminum, nickel, stainless steel and scrap iron, which are usually an essential element to a finished product.
For quick financial gain, scrap metal is usually obtained from various articles such as bicycles, vehicles, and playground equipment. Common favorite beleaguered sites are vacant houses, scrap dealer businesses and construction sites. Metal thieves have also been known to steal from railway sites, power plant sites, and well-lit sites like baseball and soccer fields. Sadly, thieves have even targeted metal from historic statues and the roof fixtures of churches and cemeteries.
Metal thieves mark areas that usually have a high amount of valuable metal. Places with plumbing fixtures or a high amount of copper wiring on light fixtures are potential victims to this growing problem. When the market crashed in 2008, there was an abundance of foreclosed houses and abandoned construction sites, which may have helped the recent rise in scrap metal theft. Metal theft has become a rising problem in the country, especially after the recession.
Cities face huge economic consequences due to metal theft. According to the Center for Problem- Oriented Policing “the cost of repairing damaged transformers or substations can run anywhere from $500,000 to $11 million”.
This crime is motived by the draw to the fast fix of cash. Drug users and organized thieves are prime motivators for metal theft. However, the damage these thieves cause cost the cities more than the value of the metal they steal. Organizations and government agencies should be seeking new ways to stop scrap metal theft.
Since the metal is less valuable than the fixtures or articles that contain the metal, deterrence is the most logical cost saving answer. Stopping the crime before it happens. Standard video surveillance and lighting will not stop the perpetrators. Only specialized vandal resistance deterrent cameras can help stop the needless repairs metal theft causes.