LA Council Votes to Look Into Enforcement Against Copper Wire Thefts

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The City Council sought reports Wednesday on a reported increase in copper wire thefts from Los Angeles' street lighting system.

Incidents of street lights being damaged as a result of wire and power theft have increased more than sixfold in the last five years, according to the Bureau of Street Lighting. In a report last year, the agency stated that the damage results in "neighborhoods being left in the dark for weeks, sometimes months, before repairs can be made."

"Enforcement is crucial in preventing the theft of copper wire from our city street lights because they serve as a deterrent that would-be thieves, who are less likely to engage in this criminal activity if it is made clear that there is significant chance of getting caught and facing actual real consequences," Councilman John Lee said. "As we've seen throughout the city and frankly throughout the state, the lack of real consequences has only made criminals more brazen."

The council voted for a report from the Bureau of Street Lighting and the Los Angeles Police Department on enforcement strategies to fortify the city's street lighting network, and for the city attorney to report on prosecution efforts related to crimes against the street lighting network.

Pole attachments have also been damaged as a result of the outages, according to a motion by Lee.

"Without proper enforcement, the theft of copper wires from street lights will likely continue unabated, resulting in a significant cost to taxpayers -- a cost that diverts funds away that would normally be there for services for our constituents," Lee said.

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