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Lessons Learned from the Red Gold Rush

Lessons Learned from the Red Gold Rush

It was dubbed the ‘Red Gold Rush’ over a decade ago, when copper theft reached epidemic levels and received national attention for its threat to critical infrastructure and property. As thieves targeted any accessible source of copper wire and pipe with ruthless disregard, the damage to buildings and property often far exceeded the value of the extracted metal itself.

Metal theft is estimated to cost U.S. businesses over $1 billion a year; and with copper prices steadily climbing again, we can expect copper crimes to rise as well. Last fall, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) issued an insightful report about the nature of metal theft and its victims. Here is how the NICB describes the impact of this crime along with its prime targets:

“Construction sites are frequent victims because metal is often left on-site unguarded and relatively unsecured. Farm equipment such as irrigation pipes and fixtures are also targeted. The thieves can endanger the safety of themselves and those in the surrounding community, and weaken the infrastructure vital to our everyday lives. Unoccupied buildings have exploded due to gas lines being stolen. Stretches of highway have been left dark and tornado warning sirens have been rendered inoperable due to wiring being stolen. Thieves have removed wiring from traffic and railway signals and even posed as utility workers in order to remove large sections of thick utility cable from the sewers beneath city streets. Electrical substations are frequently targeted and some thieves have been electrocuted trying to steal live electrical wiring.”

Remote, Unguarded Areas are Most Vulnerable

Thieves count on moving in without detection to quickly strip a site and leave. They seek targets that appear unattended and unmonitored, perhaps even miles away from the nearest city or law enforcement. In these situations, conventional surveillance systems are either not practical or particularly cost-effective to install. It’s precisely for these reasons that Mobile Pro Systems developed its premier line of camera trailers.

Mobile Surveillance: A Smarter Way to Fight Copper Theft

For example, the Site Protector and Defender trailers from the Commander 3400 series do much more than capture superior images. When placed in a prominent position on site, they provide a highly visible, formidable display that the location is actively under watch. These platforms are the largest in the industry and robustly equipped with deterrence features designed to ward off criminals before they proceed with their attack. Independently armed and powered, MPS defense trailers are engineered to operate for weeks without re-fueling or maintenance. Setup takes minutes, not hours, and the operation of each unit can be conveniently checked or adjusted online from our exclusive MP Status and Control System.

The ‘Red Gold Rush’ evolved in large part by exploiting the vulnerability of remote sites and taking advantage of the lack of mobile surveillance technology which Mobile Pro Systems provides today. At MPS, we’re committed to creating innovative platforms that do more to prevent and deter crime in environments where security was not feasible before. To find out how mobile surveillance can defend your business or enterprise, call us today, 952-324-5656.

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