Research and analysis

An evaluation of government and law enforcement interventions aimed at reducing metal theft

Analyses which aimed to test whether the decline from 2012 was caused by interventions to address metal theft, or was due to metal prices falling.

Documents

An evaluation of government and law enforcement interventions aimed at reducing metal theft

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Energy Networks Association metal theft data table

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Metal theft data table from British Transport Police

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Detail

This report evaluates the government and law enforcement interventions aimed at reducing metal theft. Incidents of metal theft rose sharply between 2009 and 2011 in line with a spike in global metal prices.

In response, a government-funded taskforce launched interventions aimed at the prevention of illegal cash sales of stolen metal at scrap-yards. Previous reports demonstrated that metal thefts decreased in line with the interventions but not that the interventions caused these decreases. Metal prices also fell, which could have been the driving factor.

This analysis controls both for the effect of prices and other drivers of theft. It finds that the interventions reduced metal theft to a level far lower than would be expected by the drop in prices alone.