In a dramatic drop-off that extends a multi-year trend, insured metal theft claims in 2015 were down 23 percent from 2014 levels and 29 percent over the past two years.
According to a report today from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), in 2013, a total of 13,626 metal theft claims were processed. That number dropped by seven percent to 12,621 in 2014 and took a 23 percent decline in 2015 to 9,692 — a total reduction of 29 percent over the past two years.
During this three-year period, 35,961 insurance claims for the theft of copper, bronze, brass or aluminum were handled — 35,134 of them (98 percent) involving copper. When copper theft claims frequency is compared to the monthly average price of copper, there is a statistically- significant correlation between the two.
The top five states for metal theft claims over this period were Ohio (4,042), Pennsylvania (2,819), New Jersey (2,585), New York (2,101) and Texas (1,833).
The top five Core-Based Statistical Areas generating the most metal theft claims were New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (2,136), Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (1,809), Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (1,449), Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD (890) and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (868).
While overall public awareness of these kinds of crimes helps to motivate consumers as to the steps they can take to protect themselves and their property, credit also belongs with the various state legislatures and municipalities that have enacted tough laws in recent years as a direct response to copper and other metal thefts. Many of these laws require scrap yards and other buyers of metal to document the transaction and require proof of identity to discourage thieves from trying to cash in.
There is a normal lag between legislation enactment and intended results. The laws passed in recent years may now be bearing fruit. Still, individuals need to do their part to prevent these
kinds of thefts by simply being vigilant in their neighborhoods and business communities. If dwellings remain unoccupied for extended periods of time, they become magnets for unlawful behaviors. Wire stripping is among the activities that are routinely discovered in these locations.
Your best protection is simply paying attention. Talk with your neighbors and ask one that you trust to keep watch on your home if you will be away. As always, you should report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency. Unreported crime tends to breed more crime.