Scrap metal recycling has changed since the economic rise & fall. When the metal recycling industry was booming 3 – 4 years back scrap metal prices were high, (scrap copper wire as much as $3.50(. Very much has changed including the way everyday household based metals are recycled since those high scrap metal prices. When the boom first started thefts were being reported at a high rate, everything from cemetery grave plates & flower holders (Brass Scrap) to church air conditioning units (Copper & Aluminum Scrap) were being stolen by individuals causing as much as thousands of dollars in damage. Theft has finally fallen since most cities are making more regulated laws that concern recycling and scrap metal prices have fell along with the rest of our economy.
For instance in Fort Worth TX many recycling yards will not accept a scrap residential air conditioning unit unless you have a receipt from a contractor that installed your new unit along with a TX ID or DL, a picture may also be taken of your vehicle. In Arkansas for instance (once rated as the worst state in the US for scrap related thefts) I remember one instance in which an individual stole spools of heavy copper wire that were located at a electrical sub station just blocks away from a police department in Arkansas. Another instance was a person in Dallas/Ft Worth TX tried to cut down a live power line (Copper wire) and suffered the consequences with his life. Now the laws in many cities regulate many items such as scrap copper wire, residential/commercial a/c units or parts, electrical fixtures & so on. The bottom of the crisis has been reached, it seems that way anyway for the recycling industry since metal prices are on the rise again and thanks to these laws the future of metal recycling should have a lot less impact on thefts directly related to high scrap metal prices.