Preventing Copper Theft

Have you ever noticed how many stories there are in the local news about stolen copper? From construction sites to vacant buildings, theft of copper has become a major problem for many communities throughout the country. Skyrocketing metal prices, especially copper, have made what was once a minor issue into a major problem costing over $1 billion/year according to the US Dept of Energy. Copper is recyclable and does not have any identifying marks making it difficult to determine if the metal is actually stolen property.

From pipes to wires to cables to rain gutters, copper components like these are being torn from walls and buildings. Thieves target copper in vacant buildings or difficult to secure areas including:

  • Construction Sites – theft of copper plumbing, wiring, generators and materials.
  • Vacant Buildings – theft of copper plumbing, wiring, air conditioners.
  • Communications Towers – theft of copper wiring and cables.
  • Electrical Sub-stations – theft of copper grounding bars and cables.
  • Foreclosed Properties – theft of copper plumbing, wires, sprinkler systems, and cooling systems.

In addition, the collateral damage done from ripping pipes and wires out of walls far exceeds the actual cost of the copper stolen.

Copper Theft Crime Tips

Here are a few tips we recommend to help prevent copper theft:

  • If you see something suspicious, say something
  • Tour your property – take away the opportunity to steal
  • Inventory your equipment and take photographs
  • Lock copper materials inside buildings and utilize security cameras whenever possible
  • Remove the exterior of your exterior air conditioning units and spray paint the copper tubing with a fluorescent orange or green paint. Then replace the exterior

Here’s some more useful information on preventing copper theft from Church Mutual Insurance Company


Source: Long Beach Police Department

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About Jimmy Kinmartin - Business Insurance & Risk Management

Jimmy is a California licensed Property & Casualty AND Accident & Health insurance agent working at the Olson Duncan Insurance brokerage based in Torrance and Irvine, CA. He grew up in Fullerton, CA and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and currently lives in Tustin, CA. Have questions? Just ask! Or, follow Jim on Twitter at @JimKinmartin

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