Copper Thefts Costing Churches Tens of Millions in Losses
July 11, 2011
MANASSAS, Va., July 11, 2011 (christiansunite.com) -- The theft of copper has hit epidemic proportions in this country and the U.S. Department of Energy estimates losses of over $1 billion a year.
Christian Security Network ( www.christiansecuritynetwork.org), an organization with a mission to assist churches and ministries to become safer and better secured is warning churches that the number of incidents is increasing and gives advice on their website to reduce risks and ensure monetary losses are limited.
Criminals have stolen from churches items such as downspouts, gutters, bells, pieces of cemetery markers, and crosses - basically anything made of copper. Construction sites of churches have been hit with plumbing and wires being stolen. And air conditioning units are being taken at an alarming rate, in some areas dozens of thefts a week in almost every area of the country.
"Unfortunately a.c. units are the main targets and we have seen everything from small window models to large units weighing as much as five tons stolen from churches," stated Jeff Hawkins, executive director.
Hawkins continues, "This has hit epidemic proportions and churches are losing millions of dollars each week and having church services disrupted and sometimes even halted because of these thefts."
Why churches? Hawkins explains "Because of the reason churches are targets of every other crime: they are predictable, they have what every other business has (such as a.c. units), and because churches generally do not have security measures in place (surveys show over 75% of churches do not have security)."
"All churches are vulnerable and the price of copper has not even peaked, so these thefts will only increase. There are measures that churches need to do immediately to help curb this nationwide trend," said Hawkins.
Formerly chief security officer for a large international Christian ministry, Hawkins has over 30-years of security and law enforcement experience and is a noted writer, lecturer, and media source on the topic of church security. He also works for American Military University as head of strategic security initiatives, and is Chairman of a Houses of Worship Security Committee for the world's largest organization of security professionals.