The Ripple Effects of Copper Theft

Copper theft – whether of communications cables, plumbing fixtures or electrical wires – has been a problem for a while. But challenging economic times combined with the price of copper and other metals increasing in value, thieves are becoming more brazen in their schemes to make a quick profit.

One theft alone caused the loss of $30,000 worth of copper. As part of this trend, private residences are even targeted.

There are so many uses for copper – and places to sell it – that no one is immune to its theft.

It can happen anywhere, at any time.

Thousands Impacted

We’ve seen a major increase recently in the theft of copper from critical infrastructure sites like electrical power plants, substations, and water treatment facilities.

For example, 2,000 homes were left without power in Upshur County, Texas after thieves cut a copper ground wire.

As we can see, one incident like this can lead to devastating effects on an entire community. 

What’s more, disrupting even a small part of the energy grid can lead to fatal traffic accidents when stoplights go out and medically fragile people are at risk when their lifesaving equipment stops working.

And when the power goes out, a wide variety of damage is done beyond the obvious ­– people can lose time and money when food in their refrigerators and freezers spoils. Businesses can face added costs when they have to close for days on end.

And there is also a cost to taxpayers when schools have to close along with a cost to students when their education is disrupted.

It Doesn’t Stop at Electrical

Cell towers, water plants, and even service stations that support the power grid are all home to the copper that so many want to get their hands on.

In South Carolina, law enforcement deputies say a man stole copper from a telephone company cell tower, threatening the loss of communications and 911 services.

Copper pipes are used to carry water, wastewater, chemicals and mixtures from one location to another so water treatment facilities must ensure they are protected from criminals.

This requires constant surveillance so that operations are not impacted.

Fencing Isn’t Enough: Video Surveillance Monitoring Is What Deters Intruders

Fencing in a dimly lit area in a remote location is not enough to combat copper thieves. They will find a way to break barriers and make off with your materials under the cover of darkness.

The best way to protect your critical infrastructure site – and all the copper inside – is with remote video monitoring (RVM) from Pro-Vigil.

RVM neutralizes the risk of criminal activity with audio and visual deterrents that scare away trespassers before crime happens.

In fact, Pro-Vigil has found that 97% of intruders are deterred before they ever commit a crime. Instead of stealing your copper, would-be thieves flee when lights start flashing and sirens sound.

And if that doesn’t cause them to leave your site, our team of trained security professionals that are monitoring your property 24/7 can alert law enforcement when needed.

Through a combination of AI and remote video monitoring, Pro-Vigil can protect your materials with a simple, cohesive security solution. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help prevent thieves from stealing your copper and causing damage to critical infrastructure sites.

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