Although there have been several initiatives where metal recyclers have collaborated with the police there is no strong legislation in place to stop the flow of stolen metal. The starting point is to identify the different types of metal crime.
- Bulk material theft – stored
- Bulk material theft – in use
- Salvage – roof lead, brass memorials, grates, catalytic converters etc.
- Stock theft – metal suppliers
Each category can be protected with a tailored security plan that is bespoke to its situation.
DETER, DELAY & DETECT
- Signs that warn of forensic marking are a good deterrent and should be prominently displayed.
- Hardened perimeters and caged equipment deter or delay theft.
- Detection and Response will reduce theft and protect assets.
- Where possible keep gates locked and restrict vehicle
- Remove any means of transporting metal away, such as wheelie bins and wheelbarrows
- Consider planting prickly shrubs around the perimeter fence
- Review the security of perimeter fencing and gates on a regular basis.
- Store ladders in a safe place.
- Consider applying anti-climb paint to drainpipes and roof guttering.
- Redesign grounding straps to reduce exposed copper.
- Cage air conditioners to prevent coil theft
- Use forensic security-marking products to mark metal goods to link thieves to a crime scene.
This crime is no longer just about churches falling victim to the theft of lead from roofs.
In today’s economic climate, metal thefts are on the increase. Thieves are not just targeting the obvious lead and copper but steel, aluminium and precious metals in other items such as platinum, palladium and rhodium within catalytic converters.
Technology as Prevention
Perimeter Intrusion Detection (PIDS)Secure compounds supported with CCTV for video verification and audio challenge will provide detection and displacement of miscreant activity.
Varying technology from microphonic sensors to fibre optic detection systems can be deployed around or even alongside large lengths of material such as power and signalling cable. Such systems can detect in kilometres with acute accuracy as to where the breach has occurred.
Monitored CCTV systems that require expensive operators watching vast arrays of screens are no longer necessary to get effective CCTV. It can even be argued that operators are a weak link in the detection process.
Automated CCTV with intelligent video analytics can detect, monitor and track activity before alerting an operator to initiate a response. This technology can make decisions based on probability to ensure that the operator only receives valid information. This enables large and wide area systems to me monitored efficiently with minimal nuisance events.
GPS tracking technology is no longer cost prohibitive on multiple assets. Tagged assets can alert when they leave a predefined area which means that metal can travel between sites but alarm if it deviates from the area.
Technology can bolt on to existing infrastructure such as dark fibre, IT networks, remote monitoring etc.
By using spare fibre cores in an existing track side communications cable a system can be deployed to detect suspect activity. GPS co-ordinates of these situations can locate and identify multiple events along the entire sensor fibre to sub 5m point ID