City Takes Unique Approach To Deter Copper Thieves

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There is now a shocking new strategy to fight copper crime.  Street lights are now staying on 24-hours a day in one Sacramento neighborhood and the city is banking on live wires to keep criminals away.

But during the day, it just seems like a waste.

“It’s a lot of money going down the drain,” says Steve Douthitt.

Steve Douthitt lives in a neighborhood where street lights stayed on all night and day for a full week.

“I’m just thinking somebody needs to reset the timer,” said Douthitt.

Douthitt has read about the city’s money trouble and thinks this is a shining light of government waste.

“Well, I’m wondering if maybe there’s budget cuts and they can’t send a crew out here to do it,” Douthitt says.

Turns out though, the city had their own light bulb moment to deal with a costly problem: Copper theft.

Mike Waldron is a Sacramento construction supervisor, and is charge of leaving these specific lights on.

“Oh, there’s thousands, thousands,” Waldron says describing the amount of lights left on.

The city now figures keeping them turned on will save money, by warding off copper thieves; keeping the lights on mean live wires, and the unlucky thief who doesn’t know better could be electrocuted.

It’s quite a warning, from a city that’s been hit hard by the copper crime.

“It’s a big deterrent; you think common sense would be a good deterrent, too,” says Waldron.

So in Steve Douthitt’s Natomas neighborhood, all the lights in undeveloped lots are now on for good.

“I believe these are 200 volts, and that would hurt,” said Waldron.

  • Gryphon

    I still don’t know why the powers that be aren’t doing a much better job of monitoring recycling businesses. Have them account for their copper inventory. And, yes, businesses do know what is in their yards and how it got there. Without having an entity to sell this stuff to, thieves will be stuck with the copper.

  • Eric

    The city mist be taking an approach to deter – not detour – thieves.

  • barrack

    The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Dept. needs to check recyclers in their jurisdiction to make sure they are in compliance with the law…………..but the usual excuse ………..we don’t have enough personnel……………

  • james

    If they park a Taco Truck within a block, Then that should do it.

  • Frank Arouet

    The family of the the first guy electrocuted will sue the city for millions and win because it is illegal to set a “mantrap”, which is exactly what the city is doing by keeping the wires live to deter crime. Then where will your savings be? How do these dummies get elected?

  • Misanthrope

    Use the money to locate & deport illegal aliens; this will cure the problem rather than relieve one of its symptoms.

  • Localboy

    How about a bounty on copper thieves caught in the act? It probably would only take one or two.

  • Chris


  • brevard bum

    A bounty hunter could also be considered a man trap. I pity the fool who “takes the law into his own hands” just to receive a stipend from a bundh of morons who don’t know how to stop crime. The city/county would be off the hook, but the independent contractor would have to answer to the same criminal justice system that gave them the incentive.

  • Bow

    another sign of third world

    • tpb

      A reader with insight! This is another indicator of the United States reverting to a third world status. The signs are all around us but our leaders do not want to see them…

  • JJC

    How about a reward for turning in the thiefs, somthing like 5K and make it easy to collect the money if the thiefs are caught with the goods. And everything will be done in private so the person turning them in will not have to worry. also mandatory jail for anyone that leaks the person collecting the rewards identity, no plea bargins, manditory jail.

  • solo_poke

    How about creating some jobs, instead of blaming poor people for everything? Considering the wealthy caused the problem, the cowards have to blame the poor and villify them as the source of the problem.

    Even if the thieves are caught, jailing costs more then employing them. The propaganda machine has done a great job defflecting attention from the real criminals in suits and ties, to the defesenless.

    Cowards blame victims, for others crimes.

    • Bill Vargas

      @solo_poke – You are insane to equate thievery with poverty. I grew up poor and we did not steal. We got jobs and worked to improve our situation. You insult the poor with your Marxist-Socialist drivel about the wealthy causing the poor to steal. Your world view is the reason California has so many problems.

      • Cal Wildman

        @Vargas – Same story here. My parents did well just to feed us and keep a roof over our heads. The most valuable gift they gave me was to make me understand that I am responsible for my own actions, no one else. We may not all achieve everything we desire, but the attempt makes us better people. solo_poke and others of the liberal stripe place no value on self-motivation and find personal responsibility something to be avoided at all costs.

        It’s an interesting to note that solo_poke finds criminals blameless if they’re poor, but completely culpable if wealthy. He believes the poor incapable of civilixzed behavior, and so reveals the liberal’s true contempt for those they consider the underclass. The liberal calls it compassionate to keep ‘those people’ dependent on hand-outs rather than treating them as equals capable of turning challenges into opportunities.

        No solo_poke, what’s truly cowardly is giving criminals a pass instead of taking a stand against them. What’s cowardly is blaming an entire class of people who you KNOW won’t fight back, rather than criminals that may actually hurt you. What’s cowardly is not taking a good hard look at your own ideology and considering your own contribution to the problem, rather than the solution.

    • RJE

      Another perfect example of a bleeding heart liberal who thinks the poor thief is just another victim. Fool!

    • Dino

      Who said anything about Poor people? The wealthy didn’t create this problem.

      Poor people don’t have to steal to get ahead. That only proves that they are degenerate and lowly.

      This is an issue of thieves! Maybe if thieves were stuck with restitution, loss of personal assets, and also had the “life burden” of paying for their own incarceration and legal defense they would think twice. If this cost burden was “unpardonable” like a student loan, they couldn’t run away from it.

      You say create jobs. What jobs would you create? Digging holes for one person and hire another to fill them up? If you are looking for a job, how about enlisting in the military? or are you referring to some magic “Social Program” that doesn’t require any work effort? Thieves don’t want jobs they want a quick buck for taking what they don’t deserve.

      If someone steals copper or anything else for that matter EVERYTHING that he had should be confiscated to make restitution…If he used his truck in the theft…confiscate it, auction it off. If he stores the stolen property in his home, take the home…make him rent….sell off his valluables.

      Lets make them feel the pain of incarceration. Take away all of the glitz in prison. Remove the TV’s, game systems, pool tables, cable, pop machines, schooling programs, gym equipment, etc. They should eat the same thing every day. No variety, None!…I don’t want a thief to come out of jail pumped up and stronger than me. I want him to feel ill with guilt and regret…and a strong desire NEVER to go back to jail.

      You say that cowards blame victims for crimes of others…are you not blaming the wealthy for the crimes of a degenerate copper thief?

      • Eric Swinson

        They should simply force any business found to knowingly buy stollen copper to be considered a criminal enterprise and subject to RICO penalties. e.g. forfeiture.

  • US Citizen

    Wait a minute??? Leaving the power on means thieves dumb enough get electrocuted. Either the city could be sued for willfull negligence with the intent to injure someone or they’ve effectively implemented the death penalty for a misdemeanor crime ala the electric chair….

    Why not just go full middle east on criminals and chop off hands and legs for theft? Or firing squad would end crime quickly as no repeat offenders would be around…,,,

  • Tight Group

    I think I’m seeing the problem… it’s not their fault, they’re depraved because they’re deprived?

  • Bill Vargas

    Our political leaders (especially the Democrats) do nothing to stop the flood of invading illegal aliens. Well, this is the result. This is the kind of behavior you see in third world countries like Mexico. Unfortunately, the beautiful state of California is turning into an extension of Mexico. Businesses and jobs are fleeing the state. The state government is bankrupt. Poverty is increasing. Expect things to get worse. I doubt that they will get better.

  • Cole

    This is certainly not a ‘mantrap’ at all. Finding means to protect high value items is within the owners rights – in this case, the owners are the good folks of Sacramento. Let the family of the buffoon who is injured or dies during his pathetic attempt at making some meth or pill money sue the city. All the more reason for a ‘loser pays’ rule in California.

    Is an electric fence at Fort Knox a mantrap?

  • TangentToWhat

    Poor solo_poke, still lost in the nonsense. “defesenless” ???? Uh, OK genius.

  • Hank Warren

    Cops too busy writing speeding tix to patrol real crime from illegals, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

    • Bookworm

      This book sucks. a waste of money!

  • Wayne

    Leaving the lights on might be a good short term investment. It only has to happen until the human bug zapper does it’s job. After that we all benefit from one less parasite in the area.

  • john trotter

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to open a “season” on theives and sell hunting licenses?

    • Misanthrope

      It would be even more effective to deputize & issue NVG to those willing to guard the border. Or, should the diaper-clad PC have a problem with such solutions, they should build the border fence & deport the illegals.

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