• An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
Copper Theft: Gain a Buck, Lose a Life | Print |  Email

Copper Theft: Gain a Buck, Lose a Life

As the price of copper has increased, so have copper thefts. The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that copper thefts have increased 81 percent in the last three years.Copper wire spool

Copper theft is especially harmful because of the safety risks it creates. Thefts from electric utility property, such as substations and power poles, can cause fires, explosions, power outages, and electric shock. Copper theft is not a victimless crime. It is expensive to fix the damage done by copper thefts. Their actions have forced airport runways to temporarily shut down, required hospitals to run on generator power, created traffic problems when traffic lights did not have power, and caused deaths from fires and explosions.

Copper theft is also dangerous for thieves themselves. Substations and power poles carry high levels of fatal electricity. Many copper thefts have been killed or seriously burned or injured while trying to steal from electric utilities.

Safe Electricity has the following tips to empower you to help stop copper theft.

  • Common targets for copper theft are construction sites, farming equipment, and electric utility property. If you notice suspicious activity around one of these copper theft targets, notify authorities, do not try to intervene yourself.
  • If you are responsible for a construction site or farm, properly secure your property. If you have large quantities of copper, you may consider a tracking device that can help locate your copper if it is stolen.
  • Store tools and wire cutters in a secure location, and never leave them out while away.
  • Help spread the word about the dangers of copper theft.
  • If you notice anything unusual with electric facilities, such as an open substation gate, open equipment, hanging wire, etc. contact your electric utility immediately.
  • If you see anyone around electric substations or electric facilities other than utility personnel or contractors, call the police.