Update: Copper thieves gut Tulsa’s streetlight grid

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — For years, residents in this cash-strapped city watched helplessly as thieves gutted 33 miles (53 kilometers) of streetlight wiring, plunging long stretches of roadway into darkness. The thousands of dollars criminals pocketed at off-the-books salvage yards wreaked millions of dollars in damage.

Now Tulsa is scrambling to make patchwork repairs to its decimated grid, opting for a quick fix to appease frustrated motorists, including 48-year-old resident Bill White, who says broken streetlights could become a liability for the city and a hazard for drivers, not to mention an eyesore.

Copper thieves have pillaged lighting grids in cities large and small across the nation, causing municipal budgets to skyrocket. Law enforcement agencies estimated that the copper theft racket was costing cities $1 billion a year. At peak demand, copper went for around $4 per pound; it fetches about half that now. Scrap aluminum hovers around 40 cents.

The lighting dilemma in Tulsa also tells the larger story of the country’s deteriorating infrastructure due to decades of neglect, deferred maintenance and unwillingness by officials to make tough funding decisions. Many bridges and overpasses are obsolete; roads are pocked with potholes; sewer systems are time bombs. Some federal officials estimated it would take about $1 trillion to fix the mess.

Cities that can afford more expensive solutions have overhauled their lighting grids with solar or LED technology. Last year, Detroit completed a $185 million conversion of its archaic streetlight system to LED — light-emitting diode — after emerging from bankruptcy. The cost of an LED overhaul, though, could get “staggeringly expensive,” explained Crotty, referencing San Diego as one example.

In an effort to switch most of the lights back on by December, the city is using cheaper, less-durable aluminum wiring instead of more reliable copper and gambling that theft-deterrent doors and stickers affixed to light poles exclaiming in English and Spanish, “We Use Aluminum Wire” will be enough to thwart would-be criminals.

But what the state’s second-largest city is looking to save for the sake of convenience and immediacy could end up throwing its streetlight grid into chaos again, city officials and urban designers say.

“Even with aluminum, really, as long as these materials remain valuable, there’s no magic bullet,” said Terry Ball, the director of Tulsa’s streets and storm water department, which began tracking the thefts in 2014. “There’s no one approach you can take.”

To read the full article, click here.

Thieves use manhole access to steal 1,200 meters of telephone cable

The theft of 1,200 meters of telephone cable early yesterday morning, the second such robbery in two days, left thousands of people in the State of México without phone or internet service.

The theft took place on Avenida Hidalgo in the municipality of Villa Nicolás Romero, and affected residents of 11 neighborhoods.

Two days earlier, more than 3,000 families in the municipality of Melchor Ocampo, also in the State of México, lost their telephone service after thieves stole 2,000 meters of underground cable.

It appears they used a truck to pull the cable through a manhole, cutting it with machetes and axes before loading it in the truck.

The manhole was located on Avenida Filiberto Gómez, one of the town’s main streets.


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IACIPP on Call to Protect Critical Infrastructure from Terror Attacks

The United Nations Security Council urged joint measures to protect ‘critical infrastructure’ from terrorist attacks in February of this year.

Given the importance of critical infrastructure for a country’s security and prosperity against the backdrop of increasingly diverse physical and cyber threats from terrorist groups, the United Nations Security Council underlined the need for international collaboration – both domestically and across borders – to ensure their protection.

In a resolution adopted unanimously the 15-member Security Council reiterated “the need to strengthen efforts to improve security and protection of particularly vulnerable targets, such as infrastructure and public places.”

Attacks against objects and sectors such as banking and finance, telecommunications, emergency services, air, maritime and rail transportation, and energy and water supply – perceived as ‘attractive targets’ for terrorist groups – can result not only in civilian casualties, but also damage property on a large scale, disrupt proper functioning of public services, and create chaos in societies.  

To read the full article, click here.

Visit us at ISC West in Las Vegas

LockDown Inc. will be exhibiting at the ISC West trade show in Las Vegas. With the exhibit hall open April 5-7, ISC WEST is THE largest security industry trade show in the U.S. Stop by booth 35061 to learn more about our infrastructure security solutions.



Heavy downpours cause I&I issues for Carpinteria Sanitary District

By Craig Murray, General Manager Carpinteria Sanitary District, for CoastalView.com

As they say, when it rains it pours. On Friday, Feb. 17 it poured in Carpinteria. Nearly 4.5 inches of rain fell during a 24-hour period, more than I’ve seen in any single day since my job made me start paying attention to such things.

Of course, with the prolonged drought, we need the rain badly and this deluge allowed our local water purveyors to breathe a small sigh of relief. For wastewater agencies, however, intense rainfall events like this one can end up in the category of “too much of a good thing.”

Infiltration and inflow, or I&I, is an industry term that refers to storm water or shallow groundwater that enters the sewer collection system during and immediately following a rain event. In the wastewater business, I&I is bad.

There are several ways that rainwater gets into the sewer system. Surface flooding can inundate sewer manholes allowing water to enter the system through vent holes in cast iron manhole lids. When soils are saturated, rainwater can infiltrate the sewer system through cracks in underground manholes, sewer mains and sewer laterals. Finally, and most significantly, storm water can enter the sewer system through the illicit connection of roof drains, yard drains and other surface drains.

No doubt all of these sources of I&I came into play on Feb. 17. Flows into the wastewater treatment plant were over three times higher than normal—we treated 3.4 million gallons as compared to just over a million gallons on a normal day. Fortunately, the treatment facility has the hydraulic capacity to handle these abnormal events, but pumping and treatment costs are dramatically affected by I&I.

Read the full article here.

Copper wire thieves steal from lightpoles, cause $1 Million in damages and endanger drivers in Southwest Washington

Thieves are putting your safety at risk by stealing copper wire from equipment on state roads in Southwest Washington.

The most recent thefts were first reported by the Columbian.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) told KATU copper wire thefts cost the state about $1 million over the past two years and $70 thousand in Southwest Washington alone.

You may not notice them, but when you’re driving on state roads in Washington, critical equipment above helps keep you safe.

“There’s the lights, there’s traffic cameras so we can see if there’s an incident,” said Bart Treece, WSDOT spokesman. “We can help first responders get there.”

Treece said the cameras are also available to drivers so they can plan their routes and see if there’s any trouble to avoid.

“We depend on those types of tools and so do drivers,” Treece said.

To read the full article, click here.

After apparent copper theft attempt, exposed live wires shock man on L.A. sidewalk

A 21-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition after he was shocked by live wires on a public sidewalk in Boyle Heights.

Firefighters responded to the area near Boyle and 6th streets shortly after midnight on Wednesday following a report of a male being shocked from exposed wires at the base of a light pole.The man, identified by family as Eddie V., was transported to Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was notified of the incident, fire officials said.

As of Friday, family members said Eddie remains hospitalized in critical condition.

For the full article, please click here.

Copper thieves target light poles around little league fields

Copper thieves target baseball field

Originally published 

Stolen copper wire from the lights at the Northern Little League fields is throwing a possible curve ball in the start of their season.  Northern Little League President John Lawson says 2,500 feet of heavy gauge copper wire was stolen out of the lights last week.

Lawson noticed the copper was stolen when they were practicing last Thursday.  He suspects it was stolen last Tuesday when there was rainy weather and no one was out using the fields.  Now, the league is hoping to have the lights fixed in time for opening day Friday.

About half of the field lights on each field for the two older age groups do not work due to copper wire being stolen from them, which Lawson says limits their practice time.

“Basically makes it unsafe to practice.  You know, seeing the baseball for hitting and catching is pretty important so, we did not, we halted the practices pretty much at that point,” he explained.

Read the full article here.

Local, state, federal and private security agencies team for Super Bowl security

Security officials are taking no chances as nearly one million people flow into the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas to see the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons clash on the field for a Super Bowl showdown this Sunday, February 6.

Local, state, federal and private security agencies are teaming up to create a security stronghold that will protect a three mile area around the stadium on the day of the big game. The Houston division of the FBI says they’ve been working on a security plan for this particular Super Bowl event for years.

Read the full story here.


Rocky Mountain Power offers $5,000 reward for information on copper thieves targeting southern Utah substation

Rocky Mountain Power is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of thieves who stole copper at a substation in La Sal last month and caused nearly a thousand residents in the area to lose power.

On Dec. 28, the thieves took about 100 feet of copper wiring from the substation, causing a power outage for 988 people in San Juan and Grand counties for more than four hours, according to a news release from the utility company.

“People who try to steal copper from high voltage equipment put themselves and others in danger,” said Joseph Krempasky, Rocky Mountain Power substations manager, in the release. “The damage is expensive to repair, and it is extremely problematic for those who lose their power in the middle of the winter.”

To read this story in full, click here.

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