Copper is more than just a pretty face; it’s a valuable one, too.
A few generations ago, the idea of stealing installed copper wires and plumbing was nearly unheard of. But with the prices of scrap copper high, determined thieves have made it their business to steal from yours. Fortunately, there are steps, including commercial security, that guard against it.
Although you can’t prevent every theft, here are a few ways that you can help protect your business and prevent the theft of valuable copper.
#1: Use a Comprehensive Commercial Security System
Your best defense against copper theft is a comprehensive security system. As the price of copper goes up and the economy dips downward, more thieves, and more fiercely determined ones, are likely to steal copper for a fast buck. With Sonitrol of Louisville, you get a lot more than just a motion sensor alarm that might or might not prevent the theft.
Sonitrol offers a multi-layered approach. With sound-activated break-in detection, a Sonitrol operator will know when someone has gained access to your property, even if it’s through the ceiling or another nontraditional method. Video surveillance is another layer of security, which gives the police a better chance of positive identification. And because authorities respond to a verified Sonitrol alarm as much as 40 minutes faster, you’re less likely to sustain an actual loss.
Any color of spray paint could deter a thief.
#2: Paint Copper Tubing Black
Where copper tubing is exposed, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company suggests a simple fix: Paint it black. Copper tubing has that telltale color that thieves can spot at a fairly long distance. But if it’s painted black, it looks like mere black tubing instead of something valuable.
Some safety experts say that painting copper any color at all can help. If you have copper water supply lines, painting them white or off-white could disguise the metal as inexpensive PVC or CPVC, which are common water supply line materials with no scrap value.
Solid panels block the view and deter access better than scalable materials.
#3: Enclose Areas With Copper
The police department of Fort Wayne, Indiana recommends enclosing areas where there’s copper that could be stolen. This might not be feasible for areas with very little copper, but it’s a good idea for places inside and outside where you could stand to lose a lot.
Insulated wire cutter handles protect thieves from electrical shock, so being live doesn’t mean wires won’t be stolen. Where bundles of wiring meet, such as near an electrical box, or in rooms where copper plumbing might centralize, and any other spot where a burglar could access and get away with a lot of copper, think about using fence material, drywall, or other methods to conceal the copper or blocking access to it.
#4: Engrave Copper Tubing
If you can’t paint or provide a barrier around the copper, you could engrave it. While not every scrap yard adheres to a strict policy, many of them do. If the copper has your company name and address engraved on the side and the authorities know that you’ve reported the theft, you could recover what’s been stolen. And because many scrap yards require identification from people who sell copper, the authorities will have a name as well.
Recovering stolen copper might not help a lot, since it likely can’t be used again, at least not without a great deal of hassle. But catching the criminal responsible can protect your business and others around you from the same hands again.
Copper theft can happen anywhere. It happens in homes, at cell phone tower sites, and in commercial properties of any size. You can’t stop a person’s bad intentions. But you can make it more difficult for them to follow through and get away with it.
Sonitrol of Louisville works with you to design and implement a commercial security system that suits your needs. We offer several different solutions, all of which work together seamlessly. Give us a call today at (502) 966-8999 and learn about protecting your business from copper theft.