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.

Comments (216)
  1. HooDatIS? says:

    its my copper and i want it now!
    these crack heads using copper pipes to get high
    smoking us out of a kitchen sink and a toliet
    run for your lives

  2. copper1 says:

    I thought thieves don’t like coppers.

  3. Poliphilo says:

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

    Do you mean watts? What a maroon.

    1. physics1 says:

      No, he probably meant Volts. Street lights run at 220V. Now it may be that the bulbs in the lights are 200 Watts–that seems reasonable. But the wattage of the bulb is not relevant to a potential electrocution, the voltage is.

      So, Waldron is not a moron. He said it right.

      1. TC says:

        Not the volts, it’s the AMPS that do the damage.

      2. Melvin Trollface says:

        Its the amps, not the watts, that will kill you.

      3. Mike says:

        It’s volts The skin has a certain amount of resistance. A high enough voltage must be present before an electrical shock can happen. From that point, the current is what can lead to pain and/or injury. For example, a car battery can deliver hundreds of amps. But the skins has too much resistance for the 12 volts the penetrate the skin. However, a car’s ignition system has the tens of thousands of volts needed to penetrate the skin, but not enough current to cause any real injury, but it is painful.

        By any means, the voltage is what really counts here. The current will cause the injury or death, and that’s a law suit waiting to happen. In California especially and the threat of a potential law suit on behalf of all the crack heads will ultimately get the city to turn the power off during the day.

        Never mind the wires are live at night anyway.

      4. Bernie says:

        Grab hold of the terminals of your car battery that can deliver 500 or more amps and then tell me that it is not the voltage or you can grab hold of a high impedance, high voltage power source and suffer no ill effects. I will leave the rest to you wizards to discover for yourselves; painfully I trust.

      5. Hairy Herry says:

        Voltage is the potential to kill you. The current, measured in Amperes are doing the work. Combine both and you have Power, measured in Watts.

        Class dismissed.

      6. c greeen says:

        The street lights run at 240v not 220v ..220 is common in houses…amps dont kill either amps are just a measurement of what?? current thats right..volts amps and watts are different measurements of current!

    2. Eric Jon Olsen says:

      Your calling someone a “maroon” is just as moronic as how you were trying to portray the original poster.

      It’s “moron” not maroon.

      Maroon is a color.

      Moron is an imbecile, and idiot. Kinda like yourself.

      1. toml says:

        You have never watched Bugs Bunny! This bit of pop culture humor escapes you heh? Ah to be young and “maroonic”

      2. Bird Dog says:

        What a maroon! That’s an old Bugs Bunny joke, Eric. Get with the program.

        However, Poli did get off the beam questioning volts/watts. Has no clue.

        What a maroon!

      3. Ironic Dave says:

        I pray I never get marooned with some of these posters. Sheesh! Getting mooned is bad ’nuff.

      4. Clue In says:

        “Maroon is a color”

        Tell that to Robinson Crusoe.

    3. Frankly says:

      No, he is right and YOU are the ‘maroon’.

    4. Olden Atwoody says:

      Poliphilo recalled the time he turned off a 200 watt bulb and attempted to change it with his fingers before letting it cool.

    5. Keith W says:

      No 200 volts in the supply, That is 3 phase 208 volts. You are the maroon because you don’t understand the terminology. Wattss refers tp the luminescence. Volts refers to the power supplied to the circuit! Douthitt probably meant 240 volt 3 phase but the circuit is in reality a 277 volt supply in 3 phase,

    6. Dave says:

      No!! Volts are the amount of electricity, Amps relates to current, and Watts are whats consumed by the user.

  4. utfreakshow says:

    Maybe he meant 220 volts?

    1. Brand New Bird says:

      Unless these lights employ 3-phase 208V, and I’ve never ever heard of such a thing. However, it’s normal for municipalities to put lighting in series, driven by a HIGH voltage because of the sheer length of the circuit, putting greater resistance. Although a series circuit, most of today’s street lighting will automatically short if the light burns out, so the entire circuit can continue to operate.

  5. Fanny Forbes Franklen says:

    This is government. Men and women providing services at the barrel of a gun. Degenerate at best and homicidal at worst. Pay your taxes or we send people in costumes to collect, just like the mafia. If you resist these goons in their costumes they may kill you.

    People who make their living by extracting wealth from others through taxation are degenerates. Worse than your common criminal.

    1. Iman Azol says:

      It’s a bit extreme a statement. There are legitimate purposes of gov’t. But since you admit to being a 911 truther freak, there’s no point in a rational discussion. Let me throw the buzzwords out for you, “free fall velocity” and “jet fuel doesn’t burn that hot.” Except jet fuel does burn that hot (Which is why turbines are high temp ceramic, not steel, and why car fires can melt rims and even engine blocks), and nothing fell at “Free fall velocity” (Actually acceleration, not velocity).

      Now why don’t you stop using government-provided roads, GPS, and internet, and go live in a cave.

      1. Fanny Forbes Franklen says:

        Thanks for telling us who and what you are and that you’re a paid shill.

        Can’t wait to see you on TV at the treason trials crying .. “I was only doing my job”. Please … I have a family. lol

        No one believes your BS. Pathetic attempt and your handlers will see how lame you are too. Can we say … your fired?

        Have a great day.

        911essentials is an introduction to the New World Order Central Banking Police State, its plans for one world government and their worship of the pseudoscience Eugenics.

      2. joejoe says:

        Hey Iman,

        What happened to Building 7? You seemed to know all the answers.

      3. Fanny Forbes Franklen says:

        Well joejoe .. all you need to know is that 1. building 7 is not even included in the 9/11 commission report .. 2. the BBC said it collapsed 15 min before it did .. and 3. it was never hit by a plane.

        Now that I’ve had to do your work for you I hope you will go clean up your room and put your toys away.

      4. Fanny Forbes Franklen says:

        Sorry joejoe I thought you posted for me … my mistake … Iman was the intended target … sorry again … my drone went off course .. translation . I can’t read.

      5. attila_the_huney says:

        EWWWWWwwwwww… an imam….

    2. lwlfnm says:

      Government is not a person. It’s made from large group of people attracted by perceived employment stability and easy life stile who cannot survive in the free market economy. Unfortunately they are not very bright and hard working. The country is run by the individuals not capable of doing any job properly.

  6. Brian Jobson says:

    It is definitely volts. In the united states different voltages are used to power various power drawing destinations. They are as follows: 110, 115, 120, 220, 240 Volts. These are the most common in the U.S.

    The watt (W) is the SI derived unit of power, equal to one joule of energy per second. Power, rated in watts, is the rate of transfer of energy. This can be heat/time or work/time. Either way, a watt is a joule per second.

    1. cgreen says:

      You miss also, most of our street lighting is 480v here in the states..A 240v line with a common of 240v and a ground, no neutral..

    2. Arizona Redneck says:

      Most street lighting is 208, 277 or 480 volts.

  7. Mr. Mom says:

    220, 221… whatever it takes.

  8. Greg says:

    277 Volts is most common for highway street lights and 120/240 or 120/208 Volts for residential areas. 277 fixtures consume less power to operate and 277 does indeed HURT.
    As an electrician I can attest to that fact. Stupid thieves will earn the Darwin Awards with 277, it grabs on a won’t let go.

    1. Mike says:

      A 277 volt fixture does not determine the power consumed – that’s a function of the resistance of the bulb (e.g. the load). Power = Current * Current * Resistance, and the Voltage = Current * Resistance. So if the resistance stays the same and the voltage varies, the current will change and maintain the same power. Basic Ohm’s Law, look it up.

      You may be thinking of transmission lines, where the voltage is jacked up into the tens of thousands of volts, reducing the corresponding amperage and minimizing the power loss in the lines.

  9. A Merkin says:

    How about changing to aluminum wiring?

    1. Iman Azol says:

      Less efficient power transfer, and more prone to faults.

      Although I wonder when the cost per Kw/hr will exceed the replacement cost of a lost lamp.

  10. David Clough says:

    It is very cruel and unusual punishment to leave lights on and risk electrocution to the poor souls who have to recycle copper wire in order to raise money for food and drugs. The correct thing to do is to leave a coil of copper for them in front of the street light so they can get the food, clothing and drugs they need to survive without risk of injury. This would also reduce health care costs by avoiding unnecessary ER visits for electrical injury.

  11. Stu Pidaso says:

    Maroon – A term of derision often uttered by Bugs Bunny when referring to an interaction with a dopey adversary. It is a mispronunciation of the word “Moron”

  12. ExSophus says:

    Two things:

    1) Most street lights have the voltage present 24/7, and use a LOCAL dusk/dawn sensor to simply apply the power to the light. Setting the lights to stay on SHOULDN’T affect whether the voltage is or is not present. UNLESS they use computers EXCLUSIVELY to control the lights in large groups…which seems to me to be rather stupid as it eliminates redundancy. (e.g. a computer virus/failure could take out all the lights…who would think that’s a good idea?)

    2) It IS ultimately watts that determines lethality, but it’s NOT just a single wattage. Lethality depends on BOTH voltage and amps. Too low a voltage and amps is irrelevant (e.g. a 12 volt car battery can produce perhaps 400 amps of current, but the voltage is too low to be lethal via external skin contact (generally needs to be upwards of 25volts to become dangerous)). But, if the amps are too low then voltage is irrelevant (e.g. non-lethal “Van de Graff” generators produce 100,000 volts (and more), but output extremely low current). Thus you have to have the right combination of the two (volts and amps) AND the right environmental and contact conditions to be deadly.

    1. gary says:

      total potential energy present is the factor. Other clarification here,. 208/240/277 volts are more efficient then 120 volts systems. they don’t necessarily use less electricity. red herring, not to the point.
      The lines are normally always hot anyways. Why not put an idiot light in the junction box that uses 1 watt or less to let the stupid ones know. The ones familiar with hot lines, will not be deterred as they know how to identify the hot ones when pulling splices apart.

  13. dave says:

    Death to al copper thieves!

  14. spd says:

    I have a solution. We could provide food stamps and free medical care. School breakfast and lunch would be nice. How about we let the illegals in the plan too !
    Let’s see we could extend unemployment over and over. Our court system could be very liberal and let the guilty off lightly. How about letting them out of prison because it is so overcrowded. OH !1 DeJa Vu Moment we already do ythat don’t we? But of course when one of these MAROONS ( sic ) spelling incorrect for those in Rio Linda . we could pay the family of the deceased off and they would be rich and then contribute to society. Copper ? we don’t need no stinking copper !!

  15. John C says:

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

    So is honesty and morality. This is more likely to happen when you take God out of society, out of the pledge, off our government buildings….

  16. Arizona Redneck says:

    As soon as Obama and his clowns convert all your street lighting to LED solar powered fixtures the wire thieves will have to find something else to steal.

    1. ExSophus says:

      You’re right.

      The “something else” they’ll find to steal will be the solar panels the LED strips, and the batteries of the street lights…those are MUCH more valuable than the copper wiring (and probably easier to fence).

      Bus stops and roadside rest areas with solar powered lighting, and similar setups have been the target of thieves for years.

      1. Arizona Redneck says:

        You’re right about them stealing solar powered light fixtures but they are going to need a bucket truck to get to street lighting,

  17. Rich K. from the East Coast says:

    Idiot…amperage is what shocks and kills not voltage. Idiot. (And I am not even a scientist and I know that).

  18. Joan says:

    Maybe if California would stop driving away its businesses and people with out of control taxes and regulations, people would be employed instead of trying to survive by stealing cooper. Desperate times make people do a lot of things they normally wouldn’t do.

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