Cooper has become a hot commodity for thieves trying to make a quick dollar. Those who steal copper are not only risking their own lives, but also the safety and well-being of others. You can help stop copper theft by reporting suspicious activity near common targets. These locations include farm equipment, air conditioners, vacant buildings, construction sites, and electric utility properties, including substations and power poles.
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative offers these tips to help safeguard against electrical dangers and prevent copper theft:
- If you notice anything unusual with electric facilities, such as an open substation gate, open equipment, hanging wire, etc., contact your electric utility immediately.
- If you see suspicious activities near electric facilities, call emergency services or your local utility. Do not intervene. Allow officials to handle the situation.
- Install motion-sensor lights and/or a video surveillance system on the outside of your house and business to deter possible thieves.
- Post "No Trespassing" placards around the property or signs indicating the presence of a surveillance or security system to deter thieves. Even with non-active systems, these signs tend to discourage some instances of theft.
- Remove access to buildings and roofs. Eliminate items that allow for easy entry to buildings, such as trees, ladders, scaffolding, dumpsters, and accumulated materials such as pallet piles.
- Store tools and wire cutters in a secure location, and never leave them out while away.
- Never enter or touch equipment inside a substation; stay away from power lines and anything touching a power line.
- If you work in construction, store copper securely, especially overnight.
Copper thieves have caused power outages at businesses and homes, shutdown traffic lights, and forced hospitals to run on backup generators. In the worst cases, copper thieves have caused fires and explosions that have taken innocent lives.