Copper stolen from Arizona’s 911 system
Thieves target plinths and service boxes. The Phoenix Metro Area Leads the Nation for Enterprise
PHOENIX – Thieves steal thousands of dollars worth of copper from Arizona’s 911 system which is powered by CenturyLink.
So far this year, the business has been the victim of 215 separate acts of theft and vandalism totaling nearly $1,000,000 in damage in the Phoenix metro area alone.
That’s an increase from 2021, when damages from copper theft were about $10,000 for all of Arizona.
“Nationally, Phoenix leads by far in copper theft for CenturyLink,” said Jeff Mirasola, spokesman for Lumen Technologies, CenturyLink’s parent company. “It really is a matter of public safety.”
Criminals are targeting pedestals and cross boxes, which contain copper wires allowing residents access to the internet and telephones, potentially preventing some of them from reaching emergency services.
“Seconds count when someone calls 911, and if someone has walked into one of our cross boxes and indiscriminately rips the cables out, that’s going to shut down part of the network, and they won’t be able to make that call. .to 911,” Mirasola said.
Copper thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are difficult to identify or catch as they pose as contractors, using vans or trucks with temporary magnetic signage to steal copper, the spokesperson said.
“They’re getting bolder and doing it in broad daylight,” Mirasola added.
CenturyLink attributes the increase in incidents this year to the current economic climate, inflation and sharply rising copper prices.
The company has partnered with Silent Witness in hopes of involving residents in spotting criminals in the act and calling the police.
Red flags could be a vehicle with no signage or with faulty signage and technicians without Lumen/CenturyLink uniforms, which do not include shorts.
“If you see anything that doesn’t look right, please call [police]”, Mirasola said. “You could save someone from getting into a situation where they have to make an emergency call and they can’t.
There was no time when a person was unable to contact 911, Mirasola said. “It is the company’s top priority to address these thefts immediately.”
Up to speed
Keep up to date with the latest news and stories on the 12News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.