Theft of copper wiring and tubing is on the rise across Canada, and Saint John is no exception. So far in 2014, the Saint John Police Force has taken 29 reports of copper theft, which is up 21% from last year. Copper theft in Saint John has increased 93% in the past 3 years. This rise is driven by the climbing market value of scrap copper, which has more than tripled in recent years.
Property owners who are victimized lose more than just the value of the copper. Often, a great deal of damage is done when removing the copper pipes, including structural damage to the building and water damage from flooding. The destruction can end up costing thousands of dollars to repair.
Here are some strategies to assist business and homeowners reduce their risk of becoming a victim to copper thieves:
1. Vacant buildings, or buildings under renovation, are particularly vulnerable. Secure all doors and windows tightly with good lock systems, increase exterior lighting and trim shrubbery or trees that allow thieves to hide on the property.
2. Ensure all scrap metals are stored in locked buildings.
3. Paint all copper components black. This makes the copper look like plastic tubing, which is not valuable and therefore not enticing to would-be-thieves.
4. Mark metals with identifying marks, such as your company name, using paint or hard-to-remove decals.
5. Install motion detectors or alarms on your property.
6. Post signs on your property indicating the presence of your alarms or security systems.
7. Remove exterior fixed ladders, stairs, and other methods to access the building.
8. Install CCTV (Video surveillance systems) on your property to capture any thefts or suspicious activity that may occur.
9. Do not leave your property unattended for long periods of time. If the building is vacant, make sure to check on it regularly and consult with neighbors to keep an “eye” out for unwanted guests.
10. Report any suspicious activity around vacant buildings or construction sites to the police immediately!
Please call 911 for Emergencies or 648-3333 for non-emergency immediate assistance.