Within the last four weeks, there have been a number of copper thefts in eastern Independence and western Blue Springs that have cost private organizations and taxpayers an estimated $45,000 in lost property and an even greater cost burden for replacement. These types of thefts are taking place throughout the greater metropolitan area and will probably continue as long as the value of copper remains high.

Within the last four weeks, there have been a number of copper thefts in eastern Independence and western Blue Springs that have cost private organizations and taxpayers an estimated $45,000 in lost property and an even greater cost burden for replacement. These types of thefts are taking place throughout the greater metropolitan area and will probably continue as long as the value of copper remains high.

Not only does the copper-stealing phenomenon create a cost burden on individuals and organizations, but it also can cause major inconveniences to citizen neighborhoods. Worse yet, it can create very serious health and public safety concerns.

Some of the copper thefts have been quite brazen and surprising. There have been thefts of copper wire from active telephone and power lines, interrupting utility services for areas of the community that could pose very serious health problems for people who depend upon air conditioning, oxygen treatment, emergency phone services and many other needs. Elsewhere in the country, thieves who have attempted to steal active telephone and power lines have been accidentally electrocuted to death. Some may view that as poetic justice, but the unnecessary death of anyone is always a tragedy.

Copper thieves are a scourge to any community and need to be stopped. Think about it. Every time a house is stripped of copper, an air conditioner is stolen or damaged for the copper, utility lines are stolen or public parks are vandalized, it is the citizenry that is victimized.

You will pay out of pocket, with increased insurance rates, increased utility costs to replace stolen property, or through a health tragedy because you couldn’t depend upon the vital utility services needed.

You can be part of the solution, however, and protect yourself and your community. Police officers cannot be everywhere at once, and that is where citizens can help. In protecting the community, you can be vigilant in watching for suspicious activity wherever you are. If you see someone acting suspiciously around public utility property, call for a police officer to come and check it out. Get a license number and a description of the person and any vehicle.

Be the eyes and ears of and for your community. Stop being a victim and become involved in the solution for stopping this dirty business. There is no question that for every active copper thief, there are at least one or two others who know about it. They need to step up and report what they know on behalf of everyone.

In addition, it is very important for each citizen to look around their own neighborhood and report suspicious activity such as clandestine burning of insulation off of copper wire, or the cutting up of copper wire and other copper objects. It does not hurt to have a police officer check into the activity. Remember, everyone is affected by thieves.

To report suspicious activity or other information, please call the Independence Police Investigative Division, 816-325-7330, or your local police.