Stop Copper Theft with Video Surveillance Technology

by Susanna Chu May 10th, 2019 in Construction Security, Outdoor Asset Security, Security Resources
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 33 seconds
Stop Copper Theft with Video Surveillance Technology

As we move into the summer months, every year we notice a spike in Copper theft. When copper prices skyrocketed from $1 to $4 USD per pound in 2011, thefts of copper wiring and piping skyrocketed too. Thieves typically targeting industrial and construction sites, warehouses, recycling facilities and even power substations and marinas.

As of May 03, 2019 the price of copper is holding steady at around $2.83 per pound. However, thefts targeting copper have decreased since the security industry introduced Remote Video Monitoring.

So, what’s causing the downwards trend in copper statistics in states like Texas, which used to be one of the top states for copper thieves? The National Insurance Crime Bureau states while there is some correlation between copper pricing and annual thefts, most of it is the result of new legislation and more notably, a better working relationship with law enforcement agencies.

What does this mean for you?

Technology in the security industry progressively improves every year, with camera analytics and video alarm verification standards, police response time to these events is decreasing. The good news is if you’ve chosen an advanced security provider, this type of crime is likely no longer an issue.

The bad news is, existing crime is now likely being displaced onto easier targets. Which could mean your unprotected job site or outdoor lot.

At the Radius Security Command Center, we regularly catch intruders trying to steal copper wiring from construction sites. Police in the Milwaukee and Tulsa metropolitan areas have also been investigating strings of copper thefts from construction sites recently. Other recent thefts:

Common Targets for Copper Theft

What do these locations have in common? They all store valuable assets, such as extensive copper wiring, in a large outdoor area which can be difficult to monitor 24/7 – unless you have the right solution. The constantly changing outdoor areas of construction job sites, scrap metal yards and recycling facilities make these industries top targets for copper thieves and metal theft. It also makes it incredibly tricky to secure using static security guards who unfortunately cannot see the entire site at once, even with banks of video surveillance monitors. Traditional CCTV video surveillance, moreover, may record when and how burglars managed to steal the copper wiring, but is unlikely to prevent the theft or lead to an arrest.

Read more about how video alarm verification works to eliminate crime on job sites and protect heavy machinery.

Remote video monitoring, on the other hand, can continuously scan multiple sections of a site for suspicious behavior. At a marina in Sarnia, for example, four suspects arrived with bolt cutters, wire cutters and an electric winch on a trolley. Advanced video surveillance technology, such as Radius’ Redhanded Human Detection Technology, quickly picks up on such intruders. With video-analytics-enabled security cameras immediately alerting our Command Center, Radius operators then dispatch police right away. This video alarm verification helps ensure officers will respond quickly to catch the suspects red-handed—before they have a chance to escape with your assets.

Finding the right solution to protect your heavy machinery, job site or commercial facility requires expert advice. If you’re considering upgrading your commercial security or security camera system – call 1-877-632-2407 to talk to one of our Security Specialists.


Four arrested for copper thefts at Sarnia Bay Marina. CBC News, April 24, 2019.

Gallichan-Lowe, Spencer. Alberta police nab 2 men for causing $300,000 in damage during copper thefts at oil well sites. Global News, February 12, 2019.

Mahoney, Aaron. Two local men charged by police in connection with substation break-in, theft of copper wire. Lethbridge News Now, May 1, 2019.

O'Brien, Cillian. Alleged would-be copper thief dies after break-in at NB substation. Cillian O'Brien. CTV News, April 14, 2019.

A West Allis man stole $12,000 in copper wire and tools from Brookfield construction sites, complaint says. Journal Sentinel, April 12, 2019.

Owasso PD investigating string of copper wire thefts at local construction sites. Tulsa World, April 17, 2019.

5 Year Copper Prices and Price Charts. Investment Mine, May 6, 2019.

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