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US metal theft down but copper cable still dominates

Thieves can earn 'big bucks' by selling car parts and copper cables.

The US witnessed a 4% drop in metal thefts last year, according to new figures from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

A total of 2 887 thefts were registered by authorities in 2018, compared with 3017 claims the previous year. NICB analysts reviewed a total of 5 904 insurance claims for metal theft between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018. They point out that 95% involved copper theft.

Top five theft hotspots

The most incidents of metal theft occurred in New Jersey (570), Pennsylvania (488), Ohio (410), New York (405) and Illinois (333). When ranked by the number of claims per 100 000 in population, the top five were Connecticut (14), New Jersey (12), Rhode Island (11), Delaware (9), and Maryland (7).

Meanwhile, the top five ‘core-based statistical’ (metropolitan) areas were: New York-Newark-Jersey City (415), Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington (408), Chicago-Naperville-Elgin (272), Baltimore-Columbia-Towson (166) and Cleveland-Elyria (123).

A total of 444 (8%) of metal theft claims were either outside core-based statistical areas or did not provide enough data to be included in the overview. 

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