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Protecting Yourself from Copper Theft

The increasing demand for copper, brass, and other non-ferrous metals is feeding a theft epidemic of copper piping, cable, wires, coils in A/C units as well as components and equipment from construction sites, utilities, homes, and structures containing these items. Even though there is a lot of work involved in stripping insulation off wire in phone cables, it seems to have become profitable enough to attract the criminal element.

Copper theft creates problems for your Telco or Telco contractor, your employees, and your customers. Below are some steps you can take to protect your valuable property.

Stranded copper wires with insulation against blurred background, closeup. Space for text

Be Informed

  • Meet with your local law enforcement to advise them of your project plans, work schedules, materials being used and project start/stop dates. Seek their advice as to what further actions you can take to prevent copper theft.
  • Get your employees to buy in to the importance of properly securing all copper materials and related equipment. Develop a security plan for the project and implement it.
  • Consider hiring security staff for after hours.
  • Select good quality storage containers, fencing, and locks.
  • Consider installing alarms on storage containers.
  • Install locks on exterior power panels and lock cages around HVAC equipment that contain valuable components.

Be Wise

  • Limit the amount of copper at the project site by arranging to have it delivered only when you need it.
  • Secure copper inside your warehouse and not in the fenced yard. It is likely to be overlooked if it is out of sight and secured.
  • Keep a good inventory of all copper material. New technologies may allow you to mark the copper as your own. Record all serial numbers of equipment that contains copper.

Be on Guard

  • Enhance your storage and on-site security with adequate lighting, fencing, and locks as needed. Video surveillance is worth considering as well.
  • Post adequate signage like “No Trespassing” and “Video Surveillance Area.” This makes it easier for police or security to identify, confront, and arrest trespassers.
  • Regularly inspect doors, locks, gates, and fences for damage or tampering. Many times will return and re-enter through undiscovered breeches in fencing, doors, or gate locks.