Lights Out on the 6th Street Bridge: Can the City Put an End to Copper Wire Theft?

Stationed on the 6th Street Bridge, surrounded by a crowd of media and city officials, Kevin de León (Council District 14) announced today his plans for a city wide motion to curve copper wire-thieves in response to the alarming surge in copper wire theft plaguing communities across Los Angeles.

Alongside Councilmember Traci Park of Council District 11, the councilmember made statements concerning the state of the city’s infrastructure, neighborhoods, and how public safety have all fallen victim to relentless copper wire thieves, who have left thousands of streetlights inoperable as mentioned in a previous article. According to the City, copper wire thefts have incurred repair costs estimated at over $17 million in the past year alone.

“Thieves are literally picking our city for parts and selling them for scraps,” said de León at the press conference. “The rampant theft of copper wire has plagued our city for far too long. We can no longer tolerate this brazen disregard for our neighborhoods, jeopardizing the well-being and safety of our residents. Today, we are taking a firm stand against copper wire theft and sending a clear message that we will bring those responsible to justice.”

Here comes the Copper Wire Task Force

With a task force to address the rash of thefts the councilmember hopes to get the public involved in sharing critical information that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of individuals and groups involved in the copper thefts.

“Copper wire theft affects every corner of our city, puts lives at risk, and costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year. It’s well past time to address this reckless criminal behavior and hold these thieves accountable,” said Councilwoman Park. “Our citywide reward program will encourage community members to come forward with information about copper thefts, making it clear that we all have a role to play in protecting our neighborhoods.”

The heart of this multifaceted approach is the establishment of a Copper Wire Task Force, a joint effort between the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central, Newton, and Hollenbeck divisions and the Bureau of Street Lighting (BSL).

The task force will aggressively target copper wire thieves operating in Downtown LA, Boyle Heights, El Sereno, and Lincoln Heights, areas that have suffered the most from this epidemic. 

BSL and the City Attorney will be involved and assign dedicated liaisons to partner with LAPD to streamline reporting of thefts and ensure evidence is collected for prosecution. 

The scale of this crisis has reached unprecedented levels, with an astonishing 6,842 citywide cases of copper wire theft reported in the past year alone. Repair costs have skyrocketed, and neighborhoods have been left in the dark, posing a significant threat to public safety.

By dedicating $400,000 in funds, including resources secured in last year’s budget and discretionary resources, Councilmember Kevin de León stated, he is committed to ensuring the task force’s success. This collaboration between law enforcement agencies, public officials, and community members signifies a unified effort to take back our city from those who seek to dismantle it for personal gain.

Through the Copper Wire Task Force and citywide reward program, Los Angeles is determined to end the scourge of copper wire theft, hold criminals accountable, and reclaim the safety and well-being of our communities.

Author: Abel Weiss

Author | Father | Lego Artist | Los Angeles Born & Raised