Sonitrol Security

Sonitrol Commercial Security Blog ... by Joe Wilson



How To Prevent Copper Theft | Stop Copper Theft

Posted by Joe Wilson

Feb 28, 2014 2:11:00 PM



Copper Theft Vancouver Calgary Edmonton


"If you have any quantities of copper wire, copper pipes, or other components made of copper, on your construction site, or being held in your warehouse, you need an electronic verified alarm system to protect those valuable assets." Joe Wilson


Copper theft is a major issue across North America and any business that's using copper wire, or has equipment with copper components, is vulnerable to theft and has to be protected.


The crux of the copper wire theft problem is that copper is relatively easy to steal and dispose of. The market demand for copper is high, and the scrap cost of copper has escalated considerably over the last 10 years.  Open-source reporting indicates prices are up 500% since 2001. When it's unprotected and readily available to thieves, copper is like gold and criminals want to steal it.


Copper theft is a becoming a big problem. In the United States for example, and to give an idea of the scale of the problem there, the FBI have identified copper theft as a major risk to US national security. According to the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI, “Copper thieves are threatening USA critical infrastructure by targeting electrical sub-stations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, water wells, construction sites, and vacant homes for lucrative profits. The theft of copper from these targets disrupts the flow of electricity, telecommunications, transportation, water supply, heating, and security and emergency services and presents a risk to both public safety and national security.”  This also applies to all of us in Canada and clearly demonstrates the size of the problem and how important it is to protect copper.


Here in Canada, Police Forces across the country are dedicating substantial Police resources to the sole purpose of investigating copper theft!  Even here in Surrey BC, the severity of the copper theft problem is being felt, so the Surrey RCMP have created a useful Web page dedicated to the metal and wire theft problem.  Here's a summary of their advice:


How Does Copper Theft Impact You?

• 9-1-1- service disruptions.

• Threats to infrastructure and public safety (hospitals, emergency response systems).

• Power outages – e.g. electricity, heating, street and traffic lights, highway advance warning signs.

• Communication systems such as phone, television and Internet service outages.

• Increases to service costs and added resource demands.


What to Look For If You Believe Copper Theft Is Happening? 

• Smell of burning rubber (indicates thieves burning insulation off stolen wire).

• People digging under roadways or underpasses for metal tubing.

• Covers removed off street light poles or junction boxes.

• Wires hanging out of covers or compartments.

• People transporting odd or large amounts of wire or metal.  

(Source: Surrey RCMP Copper / Metal / Wire Theft Webpage)


Here's a useful graphic that shows how copper is being stolen and the lengths theives are willing to go to steal copper.




So What Is The Best Way To Prevent Copper Theft?


I can’t stress it enough – leaving copper in a poorly secured compound is like leaving the combination for the safe on the door. "That was easy!" 


For buildings with copper installed as part of their infrastructure, electric and HVAC, you must be aware that thieves will rip apart walls and destroy equipment to get to the copper. Quite often the damage to the building is more costly to the owner than the replacement cost of copper!

The other day I watched some CCTV footage of a copper crime in Calgary, where the thieves were recorded on film driving away in a pick-up truck. Who knows if they’ll ever find them and you have to wonder at the investigation costs to look into a crime committed hours, if not days ago, for an unmarked material so easy to get rid of.

How Can Sonitrol Western Canada Help?


To protect your construction site, manufacturing site, or your place of business and stop copper crime, we recommend using SonaVision - the top rated security system from Sonitrol. 


SonaVision is a security system that uses video and audio detection technology and is monitored at Sonitrol’s central monitoring station. It’s a simple and cost effective way to deter and catch criminals in the act – because each alarm is verified by a security specialist and reported to the local Police as a crime in progress.


SonaVision can be employed to detect break-ins prior to the vandalism of tearing copper out of the walls.  Camera’s can be located to watch HVAC units so that thieves can be detected before they damage the heating and cooling units.  Remember, the cost to replace a damaged HVAC unit is greater than the value of the copper stolen.


Len Shaw, president of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries, said in a recent interview about copper theft, “It’s a worldwide problem that is driven purely and simply by supply and demand. Whether it’s a big utility, or it’s an individual, people need to protect their materials in ways they didn’t in the past.”


Copper Security Is Serious So Call Us


Call us about SonaVision for your copper security requirements, for construction sites, locked compounds, warehouses, electrical supply stations, utilities, or any other business that you want to protect with an electronic verified security system that really works!



About Sonitrol Western Canada:


We're so confident in our technology and responsive service, that no one else in the industry can match our guarantee.  Our unique verified audio and video business security solutions enable our operators to hear and see what is happening in your business before the criminals gain entry!  We verify the actual source of the alarm, and we get the police to attend the scene immediately. Read the TESTIMONIALS about Sonitrol from some of our clients.  For a FREE SECURITY AUDIT, click here, or call 1-866-766-4876


Get A Free Evaluation  Of Your  Copper Theft Risk





Topics: Prevent Copper Theft, Security for Fenced Compounds, Security for Construction Sites

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Joe Wilson, Owner of Sonitrol Western Canada

We provide our customers with the best commercial security solutions and quality service backed by our unique Guarantee and Commitment to Service. It's something unverified conventional alarm companies simply cannot guarantee!

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