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The Skinny on Copper Theft

The Skinny on Copper Theft

Since 2008, the National Insurance Crime Bureau has tracked the number of metal theft claims filed throughout the United States, for the purpose of raising awareness. Most of the data in the latest release, frankly, shows an alarming increase in the theft of metal; particularly copper.

From 2012 to 2014, 39,993 insurance claims were filed – 98 percent resulting from copper theft alone. This shows a 36 percent increase in claims when compared with the 25,083 claims filed from 2009 to 2011. The five leading states for theft are: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, and California.

The reason behind these thefts is actually quite simple: Copper can be found almost everywhere – both in plain sight; just look at intricate folds of Lady Liberty’s dress, and out of sight –  and it’s increasingly valuable on the market. In fact, on Tuesday copper futures rose 2.3% to $2.22 a pound on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to this recent article on The Wall Street Journal.

The Impacts of Copper Theft

Because copper is one of those metals that when combined with other metals, such as zinc or nickel to form an alloy, its unique properties become invaluable for a multitude of useful purposes including: corrosion resistance, electrical conduction, flexibility, strength, and durability. It also contains several antimicrobial properties. Its best property, however, lies in the fact that copper is endlessly recyclable.

Copper is a critical resource – vital to our modern lives as we continue to use it for our housing, transportation, technology, and electrical use. This is why 39,993 insurance claims in a span of two-years is a HUGE problem! A problem that according to the FBI presents a fairly significant problem for our country – “a threat to public safety and U.S. critical infrastructure.” 

Reducing the Risk of Copper Theft

To stem the overwhelming amount of thefts, which the U.S. Department of Energy reports as causing businesses nearly $1 billion in losses each year, are tools such as those found here. Businesses and individuals can do their part to prevent these kinds of thefts by remaining vigilant in their communities. If you notice any suspicious activity, immediately report it to your local law enforcement agency.