By Tom Vigilante, Jr.
While hot temperatures in the Phoenix area kept most of us indoors during the summer months, some local business owners were unable to keep cool after a number of crimes involving the stripping of air conditioners occurred throughout the Valley.
Recently in Peoria, a band of suspects went on top of a strip mall on Bell Road and removed the parts from 11 air conditioning units. The removal of copper pipes and wiring, backflow vales or anything else with scrap value cost the business owners thousands of dollars in repairs and lost business.
For all of the trouble they caused to others, the criminals received a couple hundred dollars for the metal on the black market.
In 2011 alone, the Phoenix Police Department reported more than 3,000 air conditioning units were dismantled, destroyed or stolen all for their metal – and especially their copper parts. Metal theft has become an epidemic since the economic downturn started in 2008. Law enforcement agencies blame the trend on a combination of the unemployed seeking items to sell for cash and drug addicts looking to finance their next score. Insurance claims arising from metal thefts rose nationwide by 81 percent during the last three years compared with the number of claims filed from 2007-08, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Local law enforcement agencies are doing their best to track down metal theft suspects and bring them to justice. Some agencies have metal theft task forces and have formed alliances with neighboring cities to stake out and deter criminals from disabling air conditioning units.
At Centralized Vision, we are a deterrent to the recent trend of air conditioning and metal thefts by offering real-time video verification services with monitoring by our team of technicians 24 hours a day. Centralized Vision technicians visually monitor our clients’ property in real time and can dispatch security or law enforcement officers to prevent a crime from occurring. Some of our clients even have one-way audio speakers near video cameras on their property so our technicians can speak to the perpetrators and let them know they are under surveillance. If a criminal does leave the property, we can immediately send video and photo images of the suspect to local law enforcement agencies for an immediate response.
Some of our clients include auto dealerships, retail centers, recycling facilities, office buildings and warehouse distribution centers, and they all have seen a decrease in suspicious activity on their properties.
I always hear from our clients about how happy they are in pro-actively investing into our services at Centralized Vision. It’s definitely a more affordable investment than losing thousands of dollars and an interruption of business if your company is a target of metal theft.
Tom Vigilante, Jr. is the President & Founder of Centralized Vision. For more information on real-time video verification services or GPS monitoring, go to centralizedvision.com or call 855-888-8094.