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City Takes Unique Approach To Deter Copper Thieves

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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.

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