6 Preventative Measures for Scrap Metal Theft

One of the biggest problems in the scrap metal industry is theft. There are constant news articles of the latest thieves getting caught on camera and those that got away, this time. State & federal governments across the world are aggressively trying to battle the increase of copper thefts with legislation.

As a scrapper, contractor, plumber, roofer, or electrician, it is important to keep your scrap secure so that you don’t miss out on the earnings you worked so hard for. Below we have listed a few preventative ways you can make sure the thieves stay out of your scrap pile and your money stays in your pocket.

It’s Your Scrap. Keep It!

We have gone over it before, don’t EVER steal when it comes to scrapping. If it’s on a property ask the business or home owner for permission to remove the scrap before you welcome yourself to it. By being an honest scrapper it is important to learn how to keep the dishonest ones away.

Got A Lock?

You can spend a few dollars at your local hardware store and purchase a combination or key lock. This small but very handy tool can keep thieves away from your scrap metal. Many times contractors or scrappers keep their scrap in their garages, basements, sheds, or barns. Use your lock to secure the place you store your scrap to ensure it will take a lot of effort to get to your scrap. Some thieves may have a lock cutter handy, so use a few locks or chains to make it a bit more difficult. Don’t be afraid to use multiple locks!

Don’t Store It

If you have a large load of copper, wire, cable, or another valuable metal, it can pay off to cash it in while it’s still in the back of your truck. While we know a lot of you like to hold out until prices are the BEST of the BEST, sometimes it isn’t worth the risk of having hundreds or thousands of dollars of scrap sitting in your garage. One thief can come through and steal that in less than 10 minutes and you hard work is gone. Find a close scrap yard on your way back from a job and cash in quickly.

Store It…In The Right Place

We know, we just said not to store your scrap metal. But if you are really looking to save up your valuable material for when prices are creeping up, it could possibly be worth your time and money to find a local storage unit. Some places require less than $100 per month to rent a storage unit. If you don’t have a secure place at home or at the office to store your valuable scrap, it can be worth it to rent a unit. This would be a good option if you live in a very populated area with a lot of theft.

Keep It Quiet

While it is very exciting to score a huge haul or load of copper or other material, keeping quiet about it can help prevent your risk of it being stolen. Don’t go bragging to friends about the thousands of dollars of scrap you just scored. When people are desperate for money they will steal for it. This also includes not using social media to announce your latest scrap load. Through pictures, Twitter, Facebook, and other networks your location is often shared and if the wrong person sees it you’re in trouble.

Change Places

If you often find yourself getting some of your scrap stolen, perhaps you can change the places you store it. Maybe use a family member’s garage or store in your truck one week and in your basement the next week. This also goes for people living in a high scrap theft area. Use your different storage options to be able to keep your scrap moving away from thieves in the area.

Report To The Police

If your scrap has been stolen, your best option is to call the police. Your first instinct may be to call your local yard, but they are not required to report anything to you about “suspicious” materials coming in. While calling the police may not be your favorite option and will most likely not get you your money or scrap back, it is the best option to keep thieves off the streets. Police departments are often in contact with local scrap yards to report recent thefts and can help prevent thefts together for the future.

There are plenty of options to keep in mind for the next time you decide to bring your scrap home and storing it to be separated and broken down. Be smart and remember there are thieves everywhere. So stay aware of what materials you have and where you store it. Happy scrapping!

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