Detroit City Council is considering a law to help curb a rash of thefts targeting copper and other valuable metals from homes, streetlights and businesses.
Last week, the council took up an ordinance that would require scrap metal dealers to track those from whom they buy and give police weekly logs of their sales.
The proposed law also would require scrap dealers to install surveillance cameras and automatically revoke the license of any dealer found to break the rules.
The council has scheduled a public hearing for October 16.
Fueled in part by a building boom in China, demand for copper has pushed its price to historic highs, and aluminum prices are the highest they’ve been in 17 years.
One metal dealer thinks Detroit’s proposal is taking the wrong approach.
“Obviously, thievery is not right. But if they’re concerned, and they should be, they need to bring in more police and monitor the streets of Detroit,” said Silver’s Metal Co. operator Joel Silverstein.
In addition to Michigan, many communities nationwide have seen a rash of such thefts, including Arizona, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona, Iowa, South Dakota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Oregon.
Thieves have even stripped cemeteries for sprinkler heads, manhole covers from city streets and copper tubing from outdoor condensers on home air conditioners.