A new study concludes that it’s difficult to evaluate new state laws aimed at reducing the theft of metals intended for recycling because of inadequate data.
The study done by The Council of State Governments (CSG) working with the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) determined that there is an insufficient tracking of metal theft data that is needed to analyze new state laws, according to a news release.
During the 2013-2014 legislative sessions 51 bills aimed at stopping metals theft were passed into law, All 50 states have laws to address the crime, but all have differing regulations, requirements and penalties.
“New laws and regulations are often the result of political reactions to high-profile crimes without any real analysis of how to address the crime as a whole,” said Robin Wiener, ISRI president. “To solve this, the scrap recycling industry sought to find out if crime rates could shed any light on what laws seem to work best when it came to reducing the crime of metals theft. Armed with this knowledge, we can work with state legislatures to pass more effective legislation.”
The CSG research determined that the lack of metal theft crime data results from states not comprehensively tracking the number of metal thefts; current data doesn’t reflect the true rate of theft; and the quality of available local data can’t be verified.
“The study shows the immense need for a uniform method to track metals theft crimes, arrests and prosecution,” Wiener said.