How to Prevent Copper Theft

Copper, or Cu, is a shiny red metal that is essential to our every day lives. Its high ductility, malleability, thermal and electrical conductivity, and resistance to corrosion gives it a wide range of application. The average building or structure depend on copper and all the properties it brings. Being an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, copper wire makes up much of a typical buildings wiring.

Copper is one of the most lucrative metals you can recycle. This is partially due to the fact that it requires little energy to do so. Pipes, wires, electric motors, roofing materials, and more are often targets of theft for the copper they contain. Because of this, and as the price of copper rises, copper thieves have become more of a problem for construction sites and property owners.

Why Do Thieves Steal Copper?

Simply put, because of its high scrap metal value. It is relatively more valuable than other common metals and it is abundant at construction sites and unoccupied buildings. Subsequently, these create the perfect storm of opportunity for thieves. Scrap metal locations are a perfect place for thieves to make money because they can exchange copper for cash. This helps them avoid leaving a suspicious paper trail which makes it nearly impossible to track stolen copper.

Where Can Thieves Find Copper?

Most straight forward answer:

  • Copper wiring
  • Copper Tubing
  • Copper pipes

Copper can be found in the following items

  • Refrigerators
  • Air conditioners and HVAC units
  • Phone and electric lines
  • Other utility lines
  • TVs, computers, electronics
  • Transformers and electric components

How You Can Stop Copper Thieves

  1. Obscure your copper. This is the most simple solution to preventing copper theft. Hide copper in a place where thieves are less likely to find it. Never leave copper in a clearly visible spot or unattended at a worksite. Paint copper components black to give them the appearance of plastic. Hide appliances and electronics away as best as you can. Invest in a storage container large enough to house all of your copper and keep them locked away.
  2. Security Patrols. Hire a security guard to secure your construction site or patrol your property to deter thieves. These trained professionals have the knowledge to spot thieves and can quickly call police to your property in case of a break-in or emergency.