Copper Theft: How to Protect Your Property from Vandalism
Vandalism and copper theft have become huge problems for owners of vacant properties. Copper thieves and vandals prey on vacant houses because they are easy targets, and cause huge amounts of damage to the average property for a relatively small payoff.Why Do People Steal Copper?Thieves love it because the value of copper has risen so much. It is estimated to bring an average of about $3.30 per pound and is a $1 billion dollar problem according to the US Department of Energy.The other reason copper theft is such a problem is that it is a component in so many building materials. Copper tubing can be found in the pipes in many homes. It is also used in heating and air conditioning units, wiring and electrical components, and a whole host of other things.More often than not, the damage done by these thieves obtaining the copper far exceeds the value of the copper itself. Vandals may do thousands of dollars in damage to a property for no more than $25 or $30.00 worth of copper. They will tear up walls, ceilings, cabinets and anything else that gets in the way of ripping out the copper.The biggest targets for these thefts are construction sites, vacant buildings, and commercial heating and air conditioning units. That said, there are some steps that real estate investors can take to prevent your property from becoming the latest victim of these unscrupulous people.Make Residential Property Look Lived InIf possible, take some steps to make the property look like it is occupied. Here are a few steps you can take:Put up inexpensive mini blinds and keep them closed.Have several lights on a timer that will come on at different times in the evening.Pick up any junk mail left at the house several times a week.Be sure that no trash accumulates on the property.Don’t leave trash cans sitting at the street for extended periods of time.Make sure the lawn is mowed on a regular basis.Ask a neighbor to park in the driveway several times a week.If your property is in the process of being rehabbed here are a few tips:Get rid of the dumpster as quickly as possible.Make sure building materials and trash aren’t left where people can see them.Don’t leave tools and other valuables where they can be seen through doors and windows.