Copper theft continues to be a true concern for contractors, and has been for several years despite the fact that the number metal claims have dipped this past year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The reason is the on-going correlation between higher copper prices and the frequency of copper theft at construction sites.
Copper Theft on the Rise at Construction Sites
The FBI started seeing the correlation and increase back in 2008: “The global demand for copper, combined with the economic and home foreclosure crisis, is creating numerous opportunities for copper-theft perpetrators to exploit copper-rich targets. Organized copper theft rings may increasingly target vacant or foreclosed homes as they are a lucrative source of unattended copper inventory.”
Contractors have increased security at job sites, and have taken countermeasures to deter and prevent copper theft, such as increasing security presence and installing better security and surveillance systems. However, as long as the price of copper remains high, the threat of copper theft – and subsequently the theft of other building materials and tools – will, unfortunately, remain in place for the foreseeable future.
In fact, as recently as May 2015, 500 feet of inch-thick cable was stripped from an open-air stretch of tracks along the A train subway line in Howard Beach in the borough of Queens, New York in the middle of the night. This brazen heist forced New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority to shut down parts of its biggest subway line and left 100,000 commuters stranded while workers repaired the damage.
Officials characterized this crime and copper theft as a whole as a money-making crime, one that’s economy-driven, because copper now hovers at $3 per pound on the scrap metal market versus 80 cents per pound a decade ago.
How Contractors Can Deter Copper Theft with Storage Containers
So what can contractors do to prevent this from happening to them and deter copper theft at their own construction sites?
One of the best ways to prevent copper theft at construction sites is to use portable storage containers, especially since a wide array of building materials contain copper, including heating and air conditioning units, plumbing, gutters and electrical components. It’s not just copper wiring and copper pipes these thieves are seeking.
Contractors – and even homeowners remodeling their homes – can be sure their copper and other construction-site materials, supplies, tools and equipment necessary for the job will remain safe and secure inside one or more portable storage containers.
The mobile storage containers from A.B. Richards, the leading supplier of ground-level storage containers in the Northeast since 1982, feature heavy-duty, 14-gauge stainless steel construction and sturdy swing-out doors that can be easily locked to make them highly secure. Each one of our portable storage units is also weatherproof and fireproof, providing an added layer of peace of mind to contractors.
The portable storage experts at A.B. Richards further recommend coupling the use of mobile storage units with these simple tips to prevent copper theft at job sites:
- Keep close track of inventory, document all materials and supplies, and keep good records.
- Light your job site during off hours.
- Make sure employees know the boss is paying attention.
- Secure the perimeter of your site.
- Review your security plan.
- Make your presence known and make friends with neighbors.
- Increase security rounds and install cameras.
Contact A.B. Richards today at (800) 597-5971 to learn more about our storage container renting and leasing options. A.B. Richards has 30 years of experience in the temporary storage business, and we’re dedicated to satisfying the storage needs of our clients. Our expert personnel can answer any questions, review your precise needs, and guide you to the correct portable storage units that work for you and your construction or contracting company.