Surge in copper thefts in Los Angeles is causing a lot of problems


In Los Angeles, there’s growing concern over a surge in copper thefts that has left significant parts of the city without proper lighting, creating not only inconvenience but also safety hazards for its residents. Thieves, targeting public infrastructure, managed to strip away over seven miles of copper wiring from the lighting fixtures of The Sixth Street Bridge in Boyle Heights, marking just one episode in a series of similar thefts.

City officials have highlighted the financial toll these thefts are taking, with the cost running into millions of dollars. This is not just about the immediate replacement costs but also about the broader impact on public safety and the sense of security among the community. Kevin de Leon, a member of the LA City Council, pointed out the role of recycling centers in this issue, noting that copper wire is currently fetching around $3.80 a pound. However, this seemingly small amount accumulates to significant financial losses for the city and its taxpayers, who ultimately bear the burden of repairs.

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In response to the escalating problem, LA officials are advocating for the establishment of a dedicated task force to combat copper wire theft, alongside an allocation of $400,000 to support its efforts. According to Michael Oreb, LAPD Deputy Chief, the main objective of this proposed task force would be to track down and arrest those involved in copper thefts, as well as to dismantle the networks facilitating this illicit activity.

The situation is similarly grim in other areas, with Pasadena reporting over 30 incidents of copper theft in the last quarter alone, affecting 280 city lights. Furthermore, cemeteries in Carson and Compton have been targeted for their bronze and copper fixtures, highlighting the widespread nature of this issue.

Jonathan Bowers, a council member from Compton, appealed to recycling businesses to refuse acceptance of stolen copper and to report any suspicious sellers to law enforcement. This step is crucial in cutting off the demand that drives such thefts, aiming to bring an end to what he referred to as a “reign of terror.”

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A motion for the establishment of the copper wire theft task force was formally presented to the LA City Council, with expectations for a decision to proceed with its creation as soon as the following week. This move represents a significant step towards addressing and potentially curtailing the rampant thefts of copper wire, aiming to restore safety, security, and lighting to the affected parts of Los Angeles.

Joshua Caruzzo
Joshua Caruzzo
Josh is US News Hub power member. Yes, he really is. He is the one who covers local news about Los Angeles County including local news about Los Angeles, Long Beach and surrounding cities of Santa Monica, Pasadena, Irvine, Burbank, Arcadia and more…

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