As the saying goes, you take the bad with the good.” With a rise in prices for some metals has come a recent surge in thefts. But the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recyclers (ISRI) isn't accepting the problem as an inevitability.
In October, ISRI teamed with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) (remember McGruff the Crime Dog?) to educate communities, law enforcement and scrap dealers about how they can “take a bite out of crime.” “Partnering with NCPC offers ISRI a new channel to communicate with local law enforcement and to share the tools we have available to prevent scrap theft and identify stolen materials that find their way to our door,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener in a release.
As part of its efforts, the institute also has released a list of ways that scrap dealers can cut down on the amount of stolen materials that they might unknowingly accept. Recommendations include adequately identifying a seller through a driver's license, license plate number and signature; paying sellers in a way that can be tracked, such as by check or ATM; installing video cameras with a time stamp near the cash register; and refusing suspicious materials that are new or solely used by governments.
When metals are stolen, the incidents can be reported through the ISRI Scrap Theft Alert System, designed to help identify and recover missing metals. Aluminum and copper frequently appear on the system and remain commonly pilfered materials across the country. According to ISRI, construction sites, railroads and utilities are the most frequent victims of theft, although scrap processors are targets as well.