Since August 2009, law enforcement agencies have reported that metal thefts have steadily increased across the nation, driven by rising prices for base metals… especially copper. Whether the theft is an expensive personal irritant, like finding your catalytic converter has been stolen, or one that threatens public safety, as when the theft of copper wiring blacked out runway approach lights at the Modesto, CA, regional airport—metal thefts are increasing in frequency and severity.

A new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) confirms what many are seeing through news reports and their own experience — thefts of copper and other metals are occurring all over the nation. The NICB report reviews over 25,000 claims for the theft of copper, bronze, brass, or aluminum that were submitted to ISO ClaimSearch from 2009 to 2011. Of these, 96% concerned copper theft.

As metal prices rise, so do the number of metal thefts. Thieves are willing to go to almost any length to steal metal, stripping sheets of metal from building rooftops, stealing memorial decorations from cemeteries, ripping apart air conditioners for their copper coils, and stripping homes and buildings of wiring and piping.

The Rise of Copper Theft and Its Threat to US Critical Infrastructure Infographic

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