VALLEJO (CBS SF) – A high-tech solution may be the answer to a national epidemic of one low-tech crime – metal theft.

The Contra Costa Times reports that Vallejo has invested in GPS technology to help bring an end to copper theft in Vallejo. City officials were hesitant to provide too many details on the specifics of their precautions, in fear of tipping off prospective crooks. However, security experts confirmed that technology now exists to embed a tracking chip into the wire which will alert authorities if the wire is cut and allow police to track its movements.

Among other options – San Jose’s new LED lighting grid links to one central management system which alerts city employees when wires are cut, allowing police to respond almost immediately, according to the Times.

A third security trick is to include a nearly-invisible tag on the wires that can be identified when they are brought in to recycling centers.

According to Vallejo officials, they began making arrests within hours of implementing their system. In all, more than two dozen arrests have been made, and city workers have been able to restore all of the damaged wiring in the city. Over the past few years, thefts have cost the city $400,000 in repairs, according to the Times.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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