Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cincinnati: Tougher Scrap selling Ordinance could be good for Historic Preservation

Members of the Cincinnati city council are looking at ways to toughen the city scrap metal laws after increasing instances of theft of copper and other metals from homes and businesses. Among things being looked at are suspension periods for buyers of metals who do not follow the rules.

The biggest and most substantial change is the way sellers of scrap metal are dealt with. Under the new regulations being looked at Scrap metal sellers would be a license from the city of Cincinnati to sell scrap metal. Further provisions being looked at would require no date of sale payment, but rather checks would be mailed.

This could be a huge benefit to historic preservation in Cincinnati. Often restorable building and homes (many times the result of foreclosure) are torn apart by metal thieves who cause thousands of dollars of damage to acquire a few dollars worth of scrap metal. Walls are torn down and just the fact a door has been kicked in or a window broken often escalates a property to VBML status and renders the property virtually unsaleable.

The toughening of scrap metal seller laws would eliminate ‘impulse crimes’, by drug addicts who would be unable to quickly sell metal for cash to feed their drug habits. Changes in these laws could have a huge impact on Preservation in the community as scrap thieves would damage fewer homes and homes are in better condition and can command higher prices which will help struggling neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.

Community and neighborhood leaders should lobby hard for these changes, as it will result in a safer community.


Karen Anne said...

I'm wondering how they will insure that the sellers aren't buying from thieves.

Paul Wilham said...

Probably with stepped up undercover operations and the penalties will be tougher including loss of business license for a period of time, not to metion they could face receiving stolen property charges.

Dale from Avon said...

What ever the city does regarding scrap yards etc. is too little too late.
I know of a building that has been ravaged by copper thieves/thief beyond belief. Authorities were made aware of what was happening from the first break in. It would have been an easy arrest had the authorities tried.
As a result this historic building is much closer to being torn down as it is too costly to repair aside from being obsolete (another topic). The neighboring businesses after learning what had happened (months later) now all want to leave.
The effects are far reaching.
I visited one of the scrap yards to help a friend locate things - it was like walking into a den of thieves - it was surreal. And by the way, the place supposedly takes pictures of everything/one but only the police can look at the pictures. They are not going to take the time even if you pin point the day of the theft.
The average property owner is helpless unless they spend their time waiting inside with a gun and/or a saw to cut off the thief's hands - that is how it will stop.