Task Force Passes Legislation Dedicated to Fighting Metal Theft (MPA Guest Post)

The Pima County Metal Theft Task Force, co-chaired by Metropolitan Pima Alliance (MPA), CCIM and Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), successfully passed legislation dedicated to deterring metal theft. The Task Force led a three prong approach to educate Pima County residents and businesses on how to protect their property; aided law enforcement in having the tools they need to apprehend related criminals; and worked with the electorate to pass necessary legislation to prosecute and fine offenders.

As part of these efforts, a new State law aimed at discouraging metal theft goes into effect today. HB 2262 requires a person to register with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) in order to conduct business as a scrap metal dealer and establishes related requirements and penalties in addition to needing city and county permits to run a business.

Other legislative components include mandating record keeping to all scrap metal transactions, not just those that exceed $25. This will give law enforcement additional information on individuals scrapping lower volumes of metal. In an effort to deter the common theft of air conditioning coils, cash transactions on these items has also been eliminated.

In a true collaborative fashion, Tucson Police Department, TEP, CenturyLink, property owners and local scrap metal dealers are all active leaders within the Task Force. Bill sponsor, Arizona State Representative Tom Forese from District 21 stated, “Our efforts against this assault on our community were joined by police, landlords, churches, homeowners, scrap dealers, utilities and many more. Moving forward together, we will ensure that this criminal activity is brought to a halt.” Additional legislation passed this past session includes making utility grade tampering or theft a felony conviction due to the homeland security risk and communication interruptions resulting from these thefts. Utility companies continue to be the largest victims of metal theft reporting replacement costs for copper theft as 30 times more than the amount of copper stolen.

Metal theft is a billion dollar problem nationally with a multi-million dollar impact locally. Local parks, street lighting and water department assets have all been impacted as replacement and repair costs are paid through taxpayer dollars.

All parties including the metal recyclers recognize Tucson as being at the forefront of this issue due to the extensive collaboration. Dan Heirshberg of Desert Metals stated, “Members of the Arizona Scrap Recyclers Association are proud to have worked with legislators, law enforcement and other stakeholders to strengthen laws related to metal theft. Licensed scrap dealers are committed to deterring property crimes and will continue to work diligently with all community partners in the future.”

The Pima County Metal Theft Task Force will be honored with an MPA Award of Distinction at its annual Common Ground Award Ceremony showcasing successful programs and projects that exhibit extraordinary collaboration.

To learn how to protect yourself or property from metal theft, please contact Task Force co-chair, Amber Smith at [email protected].

About MPA: Metropolitan Pima Alliance is dedicated to advocating responsible development in the Pima County metropolitan area and furthering the interests of the real estate and development industry through education, public policy advocacy and networking. MPA leads the charge in encouraging constructive partnerships between government, community and the real estate industry.Unique to the region, MPA is an alliance of business, government and non-profit organizations. MPA strongly believes in the positive participation and contributions of the private business sector working in collaboration with local jurisdictions. 

Republished from MPA press release dated September 13, 2013

Image copyright BigstockPhoto

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