Buyers Guide: Preventing Copper Theft

Posted by Amy Hite on October 4, 2016

Copper theft prevention is increasingly important for commercial properties, especially warehouse and industrial sites, flex offices, shopping centers, and other locations with large amounts of copper and other metal systems, equipment, pipes, and fixtures. Real estate with outdoor HVAC units and unoccupied buildings are especially vulnerable to copper and metal theft and damage. Copper theft statistics show that property owners suffer billions of dollars in loss and damage each year in the United States due to copper thieves.

Each pound of copper alone is worth over $2.00. However when HVAC units are hit, the cost to replace stolen or damaged building systems far exceeds the value of the lost metal itself. Installing a HVAC system on the top of a building can easily cost over $10,000 per incident. The states that have been impacted most by copper theft are New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Ohio.

Learn about the copper theft and how proactive surveillance can benefit your commercial property.

  • Copper Theft Statistics

Copper Theft Statistics

Copper Theft – A Billion Dollar Criminal Industry

    • The theft of precious and semi-precious metals has steadily risen since 2009. The metal targeted the most is copper. Copper has many uses in and around facilities, with pure copper making up the majority of U.S electrical wiring.
    • If you think your facility is impervious to copper theft, think again. The main target of most reported incidents is copper pipe, found in most industrial buildings. Other top targets are wiring, coils, tubing, and roofing.

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Copper Theft Incidents Statistics

    • Copper theft incidents have tripled within the last five years in the United States. Between 2006-2008 there were 13,000 copper thefts. But between 2010-2012, there were over 32,000 incidents of copper theft.
    • The high copper price of over $2.00 provides a lot of incentive for copper thieves to find more metal. Thieves are willing to look just about anywhere. The amount of copper that is successfully stolen and redeemed exceeds $1 billion annually. Ohio ranks first among all states based on insurance claims for stolen metal. The New York-New Jersey area is the metropolitan area that reports the most metal theft claims.

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Threat of Copper Theft as High as Ever

    • According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), copper theft has accounted for a staggering 96 percent of all reported metal thefts in the past three years, 55 percent of which occurred on commercial property.
    • In terms of location, Texas recorded the second-highest number of copper theft claims of all states between 2010 and 2012, with only Ohio reporting a higher number. Copper theft almost directly correlates with the COMEX price of copper. When the market value of the metal rises, so does theft, as evidenced by the increase in copper theft in August of 2011 after the price of copper hit $4.40 per pound in July.

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Copper Theft Reaches Epidemic Levels in the US

    • While the dangers and costs associated with copper theft are not new, the topic has once again made headline news for spreading "like an epidemic" throughout the United States.
    • Copper theft has turned into a $1 billion dollar industry. The FBI has long warned that it is a threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure. The valuable metal is being ripped out of electrical power substations, stolen from homes, and lifted from construction sites across the country, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. These crimes are most common in Texas, Ohio, California, Georgia, and Illinois. 96% of all metal theft insurance claims between 2009 and 2012 were copper-related. Stolen copper scrap is difficult to track, and the metal is heavily in demand, making it a very attractive prospect for any thief seeking fast cash.

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Stealth Monitoring is a security industry leader in live video surveillance with over 15,000 video cameras watched nationwide. Stealth proactive video monitoring can detect and deter crime in the U.S. and Canada while reducing security guard and other expenses. Stealth's virtual security guard service can reduce or even replace security guards at a fraction of the cost. A remote surveillance Stealth operator can see unusual activity like copper theft, activate a speaker warning to deter thieves, and call the local police.

Please contact Stealth today for more information to help prevent metal and copper theft. Visit our web site to see actual videos of criminals being apprehended trying to steal copper.

Posted in: Crime Prevention