In recent years, copper thefts have risen, especially at churches. It is the basic law of supply and demand. When a lot of people want something that is in scare supply, the price goes up. In the cases of precious metals, there is a criminal outcome: when the price goes up, more people steal it.
That is what has happened with copper, aluminum, brass, zinc, nickel, platinum, and bronze - but mainly copper – over a decade. The price of copper alone has soured from $0.62 a pound in 2002 to $4.50 a pound this spring. A 2007 U.S. Department of Energy report placed a price tag of metal theft at $1 billion a year. According to Justice Department report from this year, metal theft is increasing exponentially as metal prices soar, the economy remains sour and criminals look for quick money.
Unfortunately, most churches are being targeted for thefts because of being vacant for much of the week. These days air-conditioning units have become prime targets. Despite their size, they are easy to steal because they are outside. Thieves can make away with $50.00 or so worth of copper while leaving thousands of dollars in damage in their wake.
To help curb these thefts, we would like to suggest the following tips for preventing theft at your church.
Have a professional built cage installed around your heating /air –conditioning units.
Contact your security company about having a monitored alarm connected to your HVAC unit
Install security cameras that record footage to a hard drive and then post signs indicating that you’ve done so.
Keep trees and shrubs trimmed around the property. Make sure gates, doors, and sheds are locked.
Store ladders or large bins in locked sheds after hours.
Keep church vehicles in locked sheds or have church members drive them home at night and keep them in their garages – metal thieves are also targeting catalytic converters
Camouflage copper fixtures outside the church by painting them another color.
Tour your grounds at night, taking careful note of any spots that are poorly lit. Replace burned-out bulbs and consider
adding lights where needed.
Engrave big equipment such as HVAC unit with your church’s name. Being able to identify property will help
investigatorsarrest the criminals
Call upon neighbors living near the church to help you keep an eye on the property.
Check in occasionally with local law enforcement. Metal thieves often string together attacks in close proximity.
Have your congregation make a special effort to drive by the church at odd hours. Particularly at night.
We encourage you to consider these cost-effective, thefts –prevention measures at your churches. We hope you will take the time because with the price of copper at high price, thefts are going to continue to rise.
For more information against protection copper thief, contact Tim Smith 919-658-6027.