• Jan 20 / 2015
  • 0
Metal Theft, News

Metal Theft: The Criminal Epidemic

landfill waste container with electric cable and fibre optics

Metal theft is on the rise. With more than 1,000 cases recorded a week, costing Britain in excess of £1bn a year, this is a very real concern to the taxpayer and business owner alike. Here, we give you the information on this criminal epidemic and how to prevent it from affecting your vacated property.

Metal theft is the unlawful removal of metals for the value of their constituent raw materials. The metals that people are interested in getting to, other than precious metals, are usually non-ferrous metals. These consist of metals such as bronze, brass, copper and aluminium. People also look for cast iron and steel as they can be sold for scrap. This article from the Guardian states that 47% of these metal thefts are infrastructure based. Metal theft is a major problem in the UK and worldwide and one of largest targets is.

What are the most common targets of metal theft?

The stories of what has been stolen and for what purposes go from the absurd to the sublime. A Henry Moore Sculpture worth £500,000 was stolen from an open air sculpture park and sold for scrap at around £46. Church bells, manhole covers and copper wiring from railway lines have all been targeted items for metal thieves.

Buildings that seem potentially empty are often monitored by thieves. If they are seen to be unoccupied and inadequately secured then they are likely to be targeted. Thieves will break in and steal everything from wiring to piping to copper boilers.

Not only is the theft itself a major problem but the damage caused by the theft is also vast. Entire walls and ceilings can be destroyed from the attempted removal of wires. Serious flooding can occur if pipes are stolen. This kind of damage can cost such a substantial amount to repair, it could cost more than it would to rebuild the building altogether.

How to prevent metal theft in an empty building

There are several ways to attempt to deter metal thieves. One of which would be to board up your building or use metal screens. This however could cause more problems than it fixes. Putting up screens or boards could tell prospective thieves a building is empty and therefore potentially encourage more theft or damage than it discourages.

The metal screens themselves can cause harm to the building and, unfortunately, the internet is rife with tutorials on how to remove such metal screens. Thus, they are a fairly insubstantial deterrent and can cost a grand sum if your property is large.

An alternative to this is employing security personnel to patrol an empty building. This can end up being incredibly expensive if you want 24/7 guarding.

Oaksure Property Protection have a much cheaper and more effective alternative. This entails us putting live-in guards at the property. We protect a property by occupation, the most effective means of preventing unlawful occupation and potential criminal activity. They get to know the building, inside and out, as well as the neighbourhood, in order to provide top security.

Our service costs substantially less than it would to hire a 24/7 security guard service. Our live-in guards are SIA qualified and we can have somebody in your property in 24 hours.

Our guards also keep up your maintenance standards and serve as monitors to anything awry inside the building as well as dangers that may lie outside it. If you have a property currently unoccupied please consider the dangers of metal theft because it could cost the worth of your building to remedy such a crime.

  • Jan 20 / 2015
  • 0

The Impact of Abandoned Buildings

oaksure_abandoned building

Something peculiar happens as an area enters a stage of redevelopment. Whilst the overall cash flow to that community may be on the increase, there is usually a rise in uninhabited (and thus neglected-looking) buildings while planning permissions are being secured and the site is prepared for the regeneration or build.

This can have a paradoxical effect, even though money is being invested into a project the emptiness leaves people with a feeling of dereliction. Unpeopled buildings can affect the atmosphere of a community.

It has a negative effect on the mood of a place which can cause problems for atmosphere, tourism, commerce and criminal activity. Though there isn’t much likelihood of us having a problem like China’s, with entire cities abandoned according to Business Insider, there are still many risks to the community from leaving buildings uninhabited.

How do abandoned buildings affect the community and commerce?

Vacant properties give out the aura of an area deteriorating. This can lower local moral and also discourage people from visiting the area. On top of this the aesthetic of a lot of boarded up windows in a building can discourage new businesses from buying in the area, something that can be essential to the growth of a neighbourhood.

The vacancy of commercial properties is also often associated with a reduction in people working or trading in the area. This can lead to fewer people coming through the area with trade in mind which in turn, can be detrimental to businesses.

How do abandoned buildings affect crime?

A number of studies have looked at the way empty properties can generate and draw in crime. According to one American study “abandoned buildings provide cover, concealment, and opportunities for motivated criminals. Criminals are drawn to an abandoned property because it suits their needs and has few controls”. This rings true for the UK too.

An alley behind an empty warehouse, for example, is a perfect setting for a host of nefarious and illegal activity. As well as more serious criminal acts, it can encourage unwarranted vandalism or graffiti. There is always a lure for teenagers to break into abandoned buildings which can cause damage to the building and an increase in youth crime and underage drinking.

There is also the danger of squatters occupying the building and metal thieves targeting the building to strip out things such as wiring and piping.

How can you avoid these problems?

To seal a building in an attempt to protect it from crime will often only draw more attention to the fact that it is, in fact, empty. The result of this may mean the building is rather more targeted than less, making boarding up sometimes seem counterintuitive. It is not a particularly sensible option if crime prevention is the aim. It also makes a community look dreary and run-down.

Live-in guards from companies like Oaksure Property Protection are an effective way of avoiding this. They make a building incredibly secure. This ensures that no crime is taking place within the building and also deters criminals from associating near the building, especially as many of our live-in guards have Security Authority Industry (SIA) training ensuring that they are entirely competent and professional. We’ve known this to discourage (often completely eliminate) loitering outside the building and deter criminal activity associated with derelict buildings in general.

Though our personnel are professionals, having live-in guards is likely to look less threatening than hired security guards that take shifts in patrolling the building. Our service provides the same results without the negative implications to the rest of the community. Not only do we provide security for your building, we provide a safer feeling to the community. We want to help ensure the whole process of redevelopment can help a community and not just the end result.