Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Increased Legislation And Cooperation Between Public And Private Sectors Likely Needed To Curtail Metal Theft In The Next 1-2 Years

Analytic Question: 
What measures could be taken to reduce the frequency of metal theft cases in the United States in the next one to two years?

Key Findings:
Due to an increasing amount of metal theft fueled by rising metal prices, it is likely that law enforcement across the United States will take action to reduce the problem by enacting laws which grant more power to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, while increasing regulations on scrap yards. Improved legislation and powers granted to law enforcement, combined with education and cooperation with businesses and the public, will likely curtail the overall amount of metal theft. However, it is unlikely to solve the issue, as the practice will likely move underground to an increasingly organized black market, localized in metal theft rings.
  • Due to the lack of a federal law designed to combat metal theft and regulate scrap yards, it is likely that enacting a federal law would reduce the amount of metal theft taking place in the United States in the next one to two years. The Metal Theft Prevention Act, proposed by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), would likely help resolve many of the problems dealing with the theft of metal within the United States. States would likely build upon this law, as metal theft and scrap yard regulation vary greatly state by state.
  • Due to the high profits and low risk of being caught, it is likely that metal thefts will persist over the next one to two years, mostly in the form of metal theft rings. While new legislation and more power granted to law enforcement will likely deter many, it is unlikely that these actions alone will completely resolve the metal theft epidemic in the next one to two years.
  • In spite of the recent influx of metal thefts, local and state law enforcement agencies are likely to reduce the number of metal thefts over the next one to two years through educating the public on preventative measures and working closely with local recyclers and scrap yards to catch those trying to sell stolen metals. Companies are likely to increase the risk of the crime thus reducing total number of thefts by utilizing simple deterrent techniques such as refusing cash payments for sold metal and by collaborating with local police with theft alert websites like  

Abbreviated Dissents - There are no dissents over any aspect of this report.

Link to full document: Metal Theft Report

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