Sunday, June 15, 2008

Copper Thieves Beware – Part 2

In the previous post, we considered how cell phone and utility companies have experienced a large increase in copper thievery over the last couple of years. Mainly due to the increased worth of copper, and the ease by which it can be illegally obtained.

Consider construction sites, not typically known for their security, and how they have become a huge target. Large amounts of copper coils are stored at construction sites while waiting to be installed. Security Guards may be present on site, but they can’t be everywhere, all the time. The Copper Thieves quickly drive their trucks up to the coils, load them into the back of the truck with special equipment and off they go.

So, how can a company protect the construction sites from Copper Thieves? Wouldn’t it be cool to have a mobile platform, with a small security system embedded in the base of the platform? The system could have a bank of 4 – 6 cameras (IP or analog), pointed in different directions, all attached to a retractable mast. These cameras can be networked (with an inexpensive switch to an embedded, multi-port encoder, and a small commercial, off the shelf server with a 300 GB Drive. Or, even bring the cameras into a small form factor embedded DVR. Attach this little setup to a wireless transmitter, or other wireless device (EDGE, satellite, etc.) to make the video accessible remotely. In addition, create virtual trip wires, and camera tampering alerts to generate alarms. These alarms, similar to the cell tower solution, could be coupled with relay outputs to trigger lights and speakers with warnings to the potential copper thieves. Something like “attention, your picture has been taken and uploaded to a central monitoring facility… law enforcement has been notified… please leave the premises immediately!”

The Copper is Protected, the thief is sent off without the loot, and all this with an inexpensive solution that is MOBILE! This means it can be used over and over again!

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