Berman Brothers & Rubin Iron Works

Berman Brothers
Rubin Iron Works: Established 1914

The Dangers of Metal Theft – and How to Prevent It

We’ve told you that metal recycling in Jacksonville can be a very lucrative hobby, or even full-time career. However, as knowledge of the value of recycled metal grows, so does the crime involving such materials. Metal theft increases when the value of recyclable metals increases, and it creates its own category of destruction.

Traditionally, when something is stolen, its destruction level ends at face value. Steal a television and you have caused destruction at the value of the television. However, when recyclable metals are stolen, the act often has consequences much greater than the actual value of the metal stolen. For example, to steal $100 in recyclable copper, thieves may cause thousands of dollars in destruction through power interruptions, collateral damage, loss of historic or artistic value (in the case of statues), or the operational loss of the item.

The most commonly stolen metals are non-ferrous metals like aluminum, brass, bronze and copper. Depending on pricing, iron and steel as well. This can include manhole covers, wiring and transformers, beer kegs, monuments, catalytic converters, train track rails and air conditioning units. Vacant buildings, industrial and commercial facilities, and even construction sites tend to be the most vulnerable. However, thieves can hit residential homes, too.

Scrap metal buyers in Jacksonville, like Berman Bros., have prevention methods in place to reduce or eliminate the accidental purchase of stolen metals. Sellers are required to show photo ID, and all transactions are recorded. Merchants may refuse to accept certain commonly-stolen items unless the seller can prove legitimate ownership. Additionally, federal and state laws require all scrap-metal dealers to register with an online database accessible by law enforcement agencies to help investigations. These laws further require scrap-metal dealers to install and use cameras on-site, and some require holds before sellers can be paid.

There are things that business owners and homeowners can do to help prevent metal theft in Florida. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company recommends businesses purchase inland marine insurance to protect the business’ personal property, even if it is in transport. Keep all equipment and scrap metals in locked areas or protected by a security system. When possible, don’t receive supplies until they are needed. The longer they sit, the more vulnerable they become.

For homeowners, be selective about who you let on your property. Keep items out of sight, or under surveillance when not at home, and report suspicious activity to law enforcement. Switch copper spouts, nozzles and grates to plastic to deter would-be thieves. Properly maintaining landscaping also eliminates hiding places.

Together, through prevention and proactive measures, consumers and scrap recycling centers can reduce theft and protect our valuable resources.