Monday, October 3, 2011

Metal Theft

Metal theft is a big problem here and everywhere else it seems. There are countless stories in the news and internet of this problem across Canada and the U.S, Britain and Europe. Soaring metal prices, expensive ore processing, and financial pain across the globe is bringing on another epidemic of theft.

Thousands of dollars stolen from local companies like Coupal Cranes in Port Coquitlam, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wiring stolen from BC Hydro and Telus. Two thirds of Telus's outages are caused by cable theft. With phone and internet services cut how can people call for emergency response. Not acceptable here or anywhere!

Artwork, grave headstones, and statues are being stolen. In the U.K, rows of houses in W. Yorkshire blew up because of theft of the copper piping that connects gas mains to gas meters, leaving leaking gas lines. Other areas of the country are experiencing it too, with a number of emergency evacuations of whole neighborhoods taking place. Train stoppages are widespread because of theft.

A woman cut off web access to the whole of  Armenia while scavenging for copper.

In July, the Jamaican government has banned the scrap metal trade indefinitely because of widespread theft of metal across the island totalling more than a billion in valuable equipment, infrastructure, and private business loss.

Too many stories to list.

Copper, aluminum, bronze, stainless steel, nickel and scrap iron are metals that are targeted, fuelled by the massive manufactuing needs of China and India. Copper has such a high value as scrap because recycling copper is a lossless process - virtually 100% of the material is recovered and the process uses far less energy than using raw ore.

But there are solutions, locally we need to crack down on unscrupulous scrap dealers. BC Provincial legislation should be enacted to blanket the uneveness of individual municipal regulations here in the lower mainland regarding scrap metal collection. Mailing payment cheques to sellers at their home address making Meth addicts wait, has worked well in Washington and Oregon.

See my next post about how we at RobberStoppers helped a local business with their wire theft problem...

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