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Preventing Metal Theft at Home

Mar 27, 2023

Jon James

Metal thieves operate solo or in pairs to cut, detach, and steal air conditioner unit copper coils and other metal from residences nationwide. It, along with business theft, has become a global epidemic. Thieves see it as an easy way to make a quick buck. They show a lack of remorse when their crimes affect homeowners and communities alike.

Federal and state laws require all scrap-metal dealers to register with an online database accessible by law enforcement agencies to help investigations. These laws further require scrap-metal dealers to install and use cameras and keep accurate records of all sellers and items.

Despite these laws homes still aren’t safe from metal thieves. Even homes in gated, well-maintained, and well-patrolled communities aren’t free from thievery. In fact, the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows that from the years of 2012 to 2014, 39,993 insurance claims were filed in the United States.

The five leading states for theft are: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, and California. The cost to homeowners and businesses is considerably greater than the few hundred received by metal thieves at scrap yards. Replacement and restoration costs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. None of this is okay!

These tips, in combination, can help protect you against theft: 

  • Be selective about who you let on your property.
  • Clearly mark private property with “No Trespassing” signs.
  • Don’t park or store vehicles in the same spot for too long.
  • Keep items out of sight, locked up, or securely stored when not in use.
  • Let trusted friends, family, or neighbors know when you plan on leaving town.
  • Invest in metal theft prevention solutions such as pole light locks, panel locks, plastic downspout nozzles, and storm or floor grates.
  • Report suspicious people and/or vehicles to law enforcement.
  • Install and use security cameras around the perimeter of your property.

If a metal theft does occur, call law enforcement immediately, so that local recyclers and scrap-metal dealers can be on the lookout.