Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Effective intervention

Over the past couple of years I have occasionally blogged about the theft of high-value scrap metals, such as aluminum, copper and brass: an international crime problem. There have been two major efforts to interrupt this pattern in Lincoln. The first was the passage by the Lincoln City Council of a package of changes to Lincoln Municipal Ordinances, Chapter 5.41, which went into effect at the end of 2006. The second was the enactment of Legislative Bill 766 by the Nebraska Legislature, which became effective on September 1, 2008.


Click graph for a larger view.


These data demonstrate a dramatic drop off in this crime over the course of the three year period. It appears that the legislative changes were a particularly effective intervention.

9 comments:

Doublebanker said...

Over the past few years I know substations have seen a spike in copper thefts. Not sure if this is consistently reported though. The locations out in the middle of nowhere are the hardest hit.

Not only does this cause power outages, but also creates an unsafe condition in the sub.

Anonymous said...

I am sure this also doesn't track missing copper from storage rooms, garages, and even hot water heater blast tubes missing from apartment buildings...

Even scrap metal disappears: I replaced a failed water heater last month and placed the old rusty one 10 feet off the rear deck. It was gone in 2 days.

The good news is you rarely see an abandoned appliance in the alleys any more. If we could just make used tires just as "valuable"...

JIM J said...

You would be amazed. Some funeral homes take gold teeth out of the deceased persons mouth prior to burial. I am going have mine removed and givin to my kids.
Dear ole dad!

Anonymous said...

Things like this can't be discounted either. As the spot market price goes, so does the scrap market price.

Don said...

And, the salvage values have dropped like a rock ... or like the price of oil ...

Anonymous said...

As a recycler myself, I have seen more companies recycling their own unused or scrap metals leaving not much for the thieves to get their hands on.... This is a good thing!

I watched a doc on TLC one day that stated that 85% of all copper used in Manufacturing today is from a recycling plant of some sort....

Not to knock the legislature for the work done or the city ordinance but I think the real reason is the awareness of the thefts by those in the field where these metals are used is why the thefts are down...

Out of site, out of mind....


Scanner Listener...

Tom Casady said...

8:36 and Don-

Quite true, especially in recent months. The decline, though, preceded the dramatic drop in copper prices, which makes me beleive that tightening up the market for bad guys helped quite a bit. We'll know more when the price spikes again.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

I usually bury the scrap metal I steal.

Anonymous said...

yeah I guess the scrap metal drop was a good thing in some peoples eyes-but not in others as this was how I was paying rent,electric,gas,food on my table-now its the good old soda cans--can you imagine how many pounds of pop cans it takes to make $395 a month. It;s unreal-however I am ready for the copper prices to hit all time highs-I've stocked piled over 300 pounds of number 1, a good 250 pounds of number 2, and at least a 100 pounds of brass.I'm ready so please bring the markets back up-cause pop cans ain't making it.