With increased demand in the U.S. and overseas, the price of copper remains high, which has created a rash of copper thefts.  Construction sites, apartment buildings, warehouses and vacant homes are regularly plundered for copper wire. The government has attempted to crack down by requiring copper buyers to hold new material for several days and log sellers’ names and addresses.  But with simple, common sense action, property managers can help prevent copper theft before it occurs.

Secure your property as much as possible. Post “No Trespassing” signs and lock buildings at night. Consider installing security cameras, motion detectors and/or hiring security guards. Measures like this are especially important if your property is large or if new construction is taking place. However, even the smallest building contains a wealth of copper in plumbing, huva units, gutters, and electrical components. When feasible, isolate utilities behind fences, locks, or otherwise out of sight. Mark large copper components with an engraving tool or fluorescent/UV-sensitive paint. If they’re stolen, this makes them more likely to be returned to you.

Copper theft can be costly to restore, so make sure your insurance covers it. Theft can also lead to expensive construction delays, so ask contractors if they’re properly insured and quiz them about how they prevent theft from job sites. There’s no fool-proof way to prevent copper theft, but the tougher you make it for thieves, the more likely they’ll pass you by.

Unfortunately, copper theft has become an all too common occurrence. This has been happening throughout the United States, so it is not a problem unique. Therefore, the Red Oak Police Department would like to offer the following tips to help prevent the theft of copper items from your property.

• Remove the exterior of your exterior air conditioning units and spray paint the copper tubing with a florescent orange or green paint. Then replace the exterior.

• Use microdot or Data Dot technology on your tubing in place of spray paint. Another product is called copperwatcher, http://www.copperwatcher.com/, which can be used on any property. https://www.preventcoppertheft.com/index.php

• Remove the landscaping or fencing from around the air conditioner unit to improve the surveillance of the area.

• Install or improve the lighting over your air conditioner units.

• Use an engraver to engrave the address of the property onto various places on the air conditioner units. Avoid using the property owner’s information since this may change often, whereas the property address will remain the same.

• Spray paint or use microdot or Data Dot technology for the copper found in utility rooms, boiler rooms, etc.

• Engrave any copper tubing with the address of the property along with any other of the previous ideas.

• Ensure that any theft is reported to the Red Oak Police Department

It is important for you to take the above precautions to help prevent the theft of the copper from you property. If you suspect that someone has entered your property illegally, we invite you to contact us prior to searching it. The Red Oak Police Department would like offer these tips to you, and remind you to stay safe.

Officer Nathan Bickerstaff serves as the community relations/crime prevention officer with the Red Oak Police Department. Contact Officer Bickerstaff at 972-617-7632 or 469-218-7710 or by email at nbickerstaff@redoaktx.org.