Editorial for 07 June: A new way to steal, profit

A worldwide theft problem has made its way to the Cayman
Islands.

And while on the face of it, metal theft doesn’t seem like
such a big deal, it is an expensive one.

Some contractors estimate there was $500,000 in metal thefts
in the Cayman Islands last year.

That estimate can be doubled when you factor in the cost to
replace the stolen metal and pay workers to redo the job.

The thieves – both petty and professional – are looking for
anything metal: copper from air conditioning coils, pipes, communications and
electronic cabling, catalytic converters off cars, rebar; anything that’s
metal.

The problem got so bad in Jamaica that in 2010 the Jamaica
Gleaner called on the country to treat scrap metal theft as a public-safety
issue because thieves were taking manhole covers and dismantling guard rails,
putting members of the public at risk.

It hasn’t gotten that bad in the Cayman Islands, yet.

As the cost of scrap metal continues to rise, thieves will
find novel ways to steal it and get it out of the country, mainly to Honduras
and Jamaica.

Because scrap metal isn’t considered contraband in the
Cayman Islands, it isn’t illegal to ship it.

That’s why the public has to be aware and vigilant in this
matter.

It’s hard to know exactly how much scrap metal theft is
costing individuals and businesses – including our electricity provider CUC –
in Cayman because many of the thefts go unreported.

While we should all recycle to reduce the amount of garbage
at Mount Trashmore, we shouldn’t condone the theft of metal for it to be sold
to one of the recyclers here.

There should be rules and regulations for those opening up
metal recycling businesses in the Cayman Islands and they should be required to
have a Trade and Business Licence.

This is a new wrinkle in the fabric of our
country and one that needs legislative attention sooner rather than later;
something else for lawmakers to put on their already full agendas.

 

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