Metals Theft Prevention

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Metals Theft Prevention (How to Combat)

Prevention techniques and tools that limit the opportunity for the theft of metals should be shared community wide. Crime prevention experts have recommended a number of techniques to address these particular crimes. The crime prevention staff of the law enforcement agency should be trained on these techniques and share them with the community. These tips can be shared in community meetings, through literature, as part of public service announcements sponsored by the partner businesses and by any means that accesses large public groups.

  • To prevent the removal and stripping of air conditioning units of their metal coils, property owners may enclose their unit in a wire cage affixed to the mounting pad.
  • Another method to prevent the theft of AC units is to padlock their power disconnect box with a quality disc type padlock.  This type of lock makes it difficult, if not impossible to cut the lock quickly with bolt cutters.  Home improvement stores offer many brands of these locks for under $20.
  • A commercially available alarm product that monitors refrigerant pressure, line and load voltage is also available to address the theft of AC units.
  • To prevent theft of plumbing pipes and wiring ensure that all crawl space openings are secured with tamper resistant screws.
  • To protect vacant houses leave the electric current on, leaving certain lights on and making law enforcement officials aware of the building’s status.
  • Scrap recycling facilities and others locations that have metals stored outside in or out of fenced lots should move the items to storage inside a secured structure.
  • Local law enforcement may assist in patterned attacks through placement of mobile hidden surveillance cameras when analysis of data indicates a likely crime, and permission of property owners is obtained.  Even inexpensive trail cams may be used for this purpose if cost is an issue.
  • Local Crime Stopper reward lines should be encouraged to profile metals theft crimes and also publicize cases solved through such means, especially when sentencing is significant.
  • Improve surrounding “natural guardians” observation opportunities through improved lighting of metal or wiring storage lots.
  • Police Crime Analysts should be asked to monitor metals theft through crime analysis trends, patterns, profiles, and predictions bulletins.
  • A new technology that is being employed to allow for identification of stolen wiring is the application of specific identifying markings on wiring insulation, laser etched wiring, and markings of other kinds.  Identification is essential in building stronger cases and prosecution.
  • In those instances where metals theft persist, the use of GPS tracking technology should be considered.
To combat the important issue of metals theft, ISRI has developed, an online theft alert system that is available to law enforcement, recyclers, and property owners - free of charge.