Leiden Safety and Security Blog

Copper Theft

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Recent years have seen a drastic rise in copper theft around the world. Last year CNBC reported on the wave of copper theft in the U.S. as an ‘epidemic sweeping the country’. On September 5th train traffic to Schiphol, the busiest airport in the Netherlands, came to a standstill as a result of a disastrous copper heist.  

Considering that copper prices have risen significantly over the last ten years - in 2011, copper prices hit $4 a pound, four times the price of the metal only three years earlier, and has stayed above $3 since then - this trend is not surprising. Meanwhile, copper is readily available and relatively easy to steal. From electrical substations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads and water wells, to construction sites, and vacant homes, copper is pervasively used in the physical infrastructure that make our modern cities tick.

Evidently, copper theft can be more than just a petty crime and criminals are getting bolder, disrupting larger infrastructural systems. Further, both thieves and repair crews face severe risks of electrocution, fires and explosions when handling copper.  

So, how have governments and industry dealt with this growing threat? Aiden Sidebottom of University College London outlines a few strategies. He suggests heightened site security, property marking and metal ‘tagging’ to curb the supply of easily accessible metal. In terms of demand, he notes that market regulation can be effective,  whereby scrap metal buyers are encouraged to be more meticulous when making purchases from scrap metal merchants (e.g. requiring photographic identification).

Governments can also turn to legal mechanisms to regulate the industry and prosecute thieves. In the U.S., a number of states have passed laws that mandate recycling yards to take more responsibility when purchasing copper, in addition to enforcing stricter penalties for those convicted.

Nonetheless, experts are not optimistic about the future of copper theft, and metal theft more generally. If returns remain high, thieves remain bold, and deterrents remain weak, metal theft will continue to plague the U.S. and the rest of the world. 

2 Comments

オメガスーパーコピーN級品
Posted on November 23, 2017 at 20:18 by オメガスーパーコピーN級品

新舗 新型-大注目!

★ 腕時計、バッグ、財布、ベルト、ジュエリー、コピーブランド
★経営理念:
1.最も合理的な価格で商品を消費者に提供致します.
2.弊社の商品品数大目で、商品は安めです]!★商品現物写真★
3.数量制限無し、一個の注文も、OKです.
4.1個も1万個も問わず、誠心誠意対応します.
5.不良品の場合、弊社が無償で交換します.
以上宜しくお願いします。
不明点、疑問点等があれば、ご遠慮なく言って下さい.
以上 よろしくお願いいたします。

Ray Meer
Posted on October 17, 2014 at 19:26 by Ray Meer

In reference to the article about the theft of copper. Not too long ago, while we were living in Costa Rica that was a problem for the international airport. The wire between the ground approach radar and the control tower was copper with rubber on the outside.  Some of it was stolen. The problem was that there was then no connection between the tower and the ground approach radar. Now it is by microwave.

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