A Stronger Message on Copper Thefts

Over the last year, Kingston has seen a significant increase in the theft of copper and other stolen metals. It’s a major issue across the province. Phone lines and fiber optic cables are being cut by individuals looking for a high value copper that they can convert into cash at a salvage yard. This leaves homeowners without access to emergency services or security systems. This sort of theft and vandalism has a high cost to it. A perfect examples is the $1.5 million that the City is having to pay to repair damaged infrastructure at Belle Park. After discussing this issue at length with Kingston Police, at our next City Council meeting, I’m bringing forward a motion that will lay out a number of steps that we can take to combat copper theft in the city.

First, we’re moving to license and regulate all salvage yards in Kingston. Some local salvage yards already record seller information, which is vital for police to be able to track stolen materials and locate offenders. Municipal licensing will just ensure that all salvage yards operate at the same standard. It’s also important to take the same approach regionally and across the province. That’s why I’ll be reaching out to the mayors of our neighbouring municipalities to discuss the potential for a regional approach to this issue. But I’m also calling on the provincial government to take the same approach as B.C. and Alberta in regulating salvage yards province wide. Finally, I’m urging the provincial government to provide more resources to the justice system so that the Courts can adequately prosecute copper theft. As just one example, one individual in Kingston who’s been involved in copper theft has been caught 125 times. They continue to be released on bail without facing any consequences for their actions. It’s time now to send a strong message that copper theft and other destructive property crime will not be tolerated.

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