KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Since March 1, the Knoxville Police Department has received 10 reports of copper wire thefts from various businesses and churches.
Authorities say these thefts have become more prevalent as new construction sites appear around the city.
A local church has been the target of copper wire thefts twice within two weeks.
Those at Immaculate Conception Church have now installed security cameras and taller fences, and are working with their HVAC unit providers to make the wiring harder to steal.
Father Charlie Donahue said his church is not the only congregation that has been recently targeted.
He said he and other pastors are praying for the ones behind the thefts.
"What they're stealing is not worth that much, so I hope that we can sort of appreciate the need and the poverty that's out there, and how we can respond in good faith to help these people," Donahue said.
Knoxville Police said prevention is key when it comes to copper wire thefts.
Officer John Morgan provided some tips for business owners looking to protect their properties:
- Surround outdoor air units with tall fencing
- Ensure the property is well-lit at all times, especially at night
- Security cameras are helpful, as long as they are functional and continuously monitored
- Keep surrounding trees and shrubbery neatly trimmed so thieves cannot hide in them
- Place prickly plants such as cacti underneath windows that can be opened
The Knoxville Police Department offers a free service to assess how well-protected from thefts a commercial or residential building is.
The assessments are called "security surveys" and are conducted by a certified crime prevention practitioner.
To schedule a survey, contact Knoxville Police at (865) 215-1510.