Copper Theft Still Keeping Cops Busy

Rising theft of copper from construction sites, unoccupied, and even inhabited, buildings has been spotlighted for a few years as an opportunity for installing security companies. Today, lingering recession effects combined with the conductive, noncorrosive metal expected to hit an all-time high of more than $5 per pound in 2011 is continuing to drive this criminal activity. The topic has captured the attention of mainstream media as evidenced by this week’s cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

The article, titled “The Great Copper Heist,” is quite in-depth and toward the end brings video intrusion detection manufacturer Videofied and dealer SNC Security into the story. Companies looking to break into this niche would do well to use this article as one of their sales tools to illustrate the need and how they can help provide a solution.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

In 2006, AT&T partnered with a copper-specific video alarm company in Dallas called Videofied. When tripped, a battery operated camera sends 10 seconds of video footage to officers over a cell signal.  It can operate even if the power and phone lines are cut.

Mike Korbuly, vice-president of SNC Security, who responds to incidents in Dallas for Videofied, has caught bad guys carrying their own cell tower maps, a takeoff on the foreclosure list treasure-hunting scheme.  Standing beneath a cell tower in the middle of a field in north Dallas recently, Korbuly notices the ultimate endorsement. The grounding wires for two other cell companies located at the tower are missing. His are not. “People are starting to learn that AT&T is protected,” he says,  eyeing an empty beer can the thieves might have left behind. That’s helped AT&T reduce service cuts by 75 percent nationwide in 2009. In 2008 those incidents cost $7.3 million, vs. $2.2 million in 2009.  Another Dallas company, CopperWatcher, provides air-conditioning unit alarm systems that trip if there are spikes in voltage, a telltale sign of tampering.

To read the complete article, go here.

Scott Goldfine

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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