SPRINGFIELD — State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, is supporting a measure to address the growing problem of copper theft in communities across Illinois.
“In recent years we have seen an increase in copper theft across the nation and in our communities,” Beiser said. “While lawmakers have worked to address the problem by increasing penalties on those who commit the crime and requiring scrap metal recyclers to record purchases, it has not curtailed this crime enough.”
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, record-high values of copper have helped lead to an increase in thefts of the metal across the country. Illinois has the fifth-highest number of copper thefts in the nation. Copper is often stolen from important community infrastructure, including telephone lines and power stations, and from air-conditioning units, construction sites and other private property. The crime can result in thousands of dollars in property damage and put public utilities in jeopardy.
Beiser is co-sponsoring House Bill 330, which creates a task force composed of experts to help devise a wide-ranging plan to combat metal theft. The task force would include representatives of state and local law enforcement agencies, public utilities, rural electric cooperatives, insurance companies and scrap metal suppliers. Under the proposal, the task force would work to find ways to deter metal theft and strengthen existing laws.
“Every day our police departments are working to improve community safety with fewer resources,” Beiser said. “This measure would provide them with additional strategies to address a growing problem throughout the region.”
For information on upcoming legislation, contact Beiser’s full-time constituent service office at (618) 465-5900.