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.

  • cudmaster

    Blaming drug users is fun; I bet the truth of the matter is that out of work electricians are doing this.

    • Pig

      wrong. they’re drug users. I’ve arrested quite a few of them. the recycling centers are also to blame for being out of compliance with regulations.

  • Solomonpal

    Make TSA agents out of coppet theives and have them gaurding the power lines. No authority tho to grope.

  • Meod Chacham

    So, if they can sue the city if they get electrocute because they are stupid, does it mean that if a prisoner who tries to escape by going over the electric fence in prison and he dies , can sue the state too ?

    • Ho


      • Brian

        how can the prisoner sue if he is dead?

    • LAW BAR

      Just sue everybody, We like it THIS WAY…… THE LAWYERS BAR.

  • Ho


  • Bob Ho

    Republicans are stealing the copper, not.

  • WeThePeople

    Just don’t forget to turn off your house lights, and toss away that ice maker in the fridge, or the GREEN police, Al Gore, and Mr. Obama will come looking for you.

  • Roger

    Bravo Sacramento!
    To save lives of thieves you are on the best way to follow Vallejo – to go bankrupt!

  • Wendy Weinbaum

    As a Jewess in the US, I can only say that just because someone is born in the US, he or she is NOT necessarilly a Natural Born Citizen. For example, are the children born here to foreign diplomats on duty in the US citizens? NO! And, it appears that Obama’s father was NOT legally married to Stanley Ann Dunham, since he was already married in Kenya, so here we have an apparently illegitimate child of a foreign father claiming to be Natural Born. Quite a stretch!

    • Jeff

      Anyone born on US soil, even the child of a foreign diplomat, has a right to US citizenship. They might not accept it–and in the case of the foreign diplomat, probably never do. But a natural born citizen is anyone (1) born on US soil, or (2) born into US Citizenship through the US Citizenship of his or her parents (so a child born on foreign soil to US parents is born a US citizen, regardless of the location of their birth.

      I am not sure what the legitimacy of a marriage would have to do anything. Citizenship does not flow from the legality of a marriage, but rather the status of the parents–both parents, which would, by definition, include the mother as well.

      • Silverfalcon

        Jeff a person is not simply granted citizenship just because they are born within the geographical boundaries of the United States. The parent(s) must be under the jurisdiction of the United States at least thats how the constitution reads.

        Using children of Foreign diplomats is a poor example because their parents are under the jurisdiction of the country they are representing as diplomats. So they should not be entitled to U.S. citizenship. It’s not a question of them electing not.

        Section 1 of 14th Amendment reads

        All persons born or naturalized in the United States, AND SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION THEREOF, are citizens of the United States.

        The “AND” part applies to both parts of the OR.

        You can be born here or naturalized but in either case you must be subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States and not some other nation. So all illegal anchor babies are not U.S. citizens because their parents were not citizens of the U.S. and therefore not “SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION THEREOF” at the time of birth.

        Now the courts are not upholding the constitution since anchor babies are being used to bleed this country dry.

      • Sonya

        I couldn’t have said it better Jeff. Thanks for such a thoughtful response to an ignorant post.

      • Earl

        Sorry, but you are only half right. When a person is born on US soil, the constitution states it has to be to citizen PARENTS to be natural born. The key word here is PARENTS. By Obama’s own mouth only his mother was a citizen, there for making him a duel citizen (British- US) at birth, and our constitution strictly forbids duel citizens from being President!

  • Yecew Foshjavlicem

    Hi Ho, Your message making fun of Meod Chacham’s English is very mean-spirited. Obviously, Meod Chacham does not have a traditional American background so that means you might have hurt her? feelings. Isn’t that a hate crime?

    • Doug

      A hate crime? Get over it! Not everything is a hate crime. Grow some thicker skin buddy.

  • Mike

    I have a better idea to save money, turn off the lights and put a dead or alive bounty on copper thieves.

  • chad

    This is not a very GREEN solution to this problem. I thought we were all about going GREEN now. So much for that theory.

  • Christopher

    Well now a injured thief or surviving family could sue the city for having the knowledge that a dangerous situation was created knowing full well that the danger was the intent.

    BTW, you could energize the street light circuit(s) and create the same danger without the daylight energy cost. Duh. Call any qualified electrician.

    I know I Iknow. You have no idea what I am talking about. For the layman: energize the circuit(s) but open the neutral or opposite phase at the source and there will be no energy cost yet the circuit is fully energized.

    You’re welcome. myOaklandElectrican Downtown Oakland CA 94612

    • Christopher

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

      Doesn’t matter what the voltage is regarding energy costs. Cost is dependant upon lamp wattage. 100 watts at 120 volts ac costs you the same as 100 watts at 480 volts ac.

      You’re welcome. I maintain Bay Area municipal street lighting.

      Christopher Indoor lighting, Outdoor lighting, 24 Hour Emergency Electrical Services, Install Maintain Repair, Energy Audits

  • John

    Many LED light fixtures require no power during the day or the warranty is voided since many fixtures are not designed for the extra solar load

  • Robert G

    I guess the non working class elected officials in SACRAMENTO never heard on insulated wire cutter.

  • CommonSense

    Turn off the lights and give everyone night vision goggles.

  • dragon

    I would pay to see that! “…and he dies , can sue the state too ?”

    pure genius. He dead bone head.

  • Karl

    It’s Bush’s fault. It’s got to be. I’m sure they can find a politician who will agree.

  • Uncommon Sense

    Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to put motion sensors in strategic locations?

  • dude


  • Bfe Shows Port Hueneme

    Its a terrible post but did it occure to you that the person is a troll posing. The name and “as a Jewess” have the earmarks of an anti-semite posing as a jew and posting something obsurd to trigger a negative responce.
    directed at jews. Thanks for not falling for and responding to the obsurdity of the post and not the supposed background of the poster.

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