What To Do About Metal Roof Theft

Construction & Contractors Articles

You lock the doors and install a security system to protect the valuables inside your home or commercial property, but what if thieves are after something that's attached to the building? A combination of fewer opportunities to earn honest income coupled with high scrap metal prices has some thieves getting creative and stealing metal from roofs to sell to scrap recycling facilities. Here's more information about this issue and what you can do to protect yourself.

Metal Bandits

Metal theft is not new. There is already a problem with people scavenging metal piping and wiring from empty buildings and vulnerable appliances like air conditioners and recycling them for cash. Theft of recyclable copper, brass, bronze, and aluminum is so pervasive that there were 33,775 insurance claims for metal theft between 2010 and 2012. It's happening in every state, though Ohio ranks at the top of the list with 3,228 metal theft claims, and thieves are hitting both commercial and residential properties.

Unfortunately, burglars have been getting bolder over the years. Someone stole metal that disabled approach lighting on a runway at the Sea-Tac Airport. A church in Connecticut was flooded with rainwater after someone stole $1,200 worth of copper flashing and downspouts from the roof. For people that have metal roofs (or metal material on their roofs), it may not be a matter of if someone will try to pilfer the material, but when.

Protecting Your Investment

It can be challenging to protect something like a roof, but you can do a few things to significantly reduce the risk of having someone attempt to steal the metal on it. In general, thievery is a crime of opportunity. As such, metal bandits are more likely to go after metal on the roofs of unoccupied or unattended buildings. You can discourage thieves from sniffing around your property by making sure someone is always there. Hire a security guard to patrol the area, for instance. This is also a viable option for people who rent their homes. You can temporarily rent a security guard for the time between when one tenant moves out and another one moves in.

If the cost of hiring a security guard is prohibitively expensive, an alternative option is to make it obvious video surveillance is in use. The presences of video cameras can reduce crime. Thieves are less likely to attempt to remove items from the building if there's a high chance they will get caught. Thus, they tend to avoid buildings that have video security systems installed.

Don't make it easy for a thief to access your roof. Always secure ladders after using them. For example, don't leave the ladder leaning against your home for days on end after cleaning out the gutters. Put it in a shed, and make sure the shed is always locked.

For commercial buildings, you can install safety cages around roof access ladders that prevent anyone without a key to the lock from using the ladder. Interior roof access doors should also be secured by lock and key. If you have trees near your home or commercial building, you may want to either relocate them or keep the branches well trimmed to prevent someone from jumping onto the roof by climbing the tree.

Metal is sturdy and lasts longer than many other types of roofing materials such as wood or asphalt. However, you may want to save yourself the headache of dealing with metal thieves by swapping out metal flashing, downspouts, eaves, and accents with something less enticing. Although flashing is primarily made from metallic materials, you can find ones crafted from rubber, rubberized asphalt, and acrylic, for example.

If you live in an area where metal thieves are common, it's a good idea to inspect your roof on a regular basis to check that nothing is missing. The last thing you want is to have your home or commercial building suddenly flood with water when it rains because someone stole a necessary metal part. If you do find something missing, contact a roof repair company (like Pasco Roofing) right away to replace it and then file a claim with your insurance company.

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25 March 2016

inspecting the roof on your home

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