U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Metals Theft Database Pilot Study

NCJ Number
Kevin W Whiteacre Ph.D.; Lindsay Medler; Dan Rhoton; Raeann Howes
Date Published
November 2008
16 pages
This report is the first on a pilot study to establish protocol for collecting, coding, and analyzing metals theft data from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) crime reports.
Highlights of summary findings include: (1) from January to March of 2008, there were 768 metal thefts reported in Indianapolis; (2) copper was the most stolen metal, with copper pipes and plumbing accounting for more than 17 percent of all items and copper wires accounting for 8 percent; (3) on average, one catalytic converter was stolen every day during the reporting period; (4) 25 percent or 169 of the crime reports contained estimates of the values for the stolen items for those 169 cases, the average value of the stolen items was $4,314; (5) extrapolating those values to the other 75 percent of cases suggests the value of stolen metals thefts averaged just under $1 million per month; and (6) the Northeast District had the most residential metals theft, while the Southeast and Southwest Districts had the most commercial and vehicle related metals thefts. Metal theft describes the theft of items for the value of their constituent metals. It is generally agreed that metals theft has risen because of steep increases in the prices of metals. Law enforcement agencies across the country report growing concerns over metals thefts. The Indianapolis Metals Theft Project seeks to gather and analyze a wide variety of data to provide a clearer understanding of the incidence, types, costs, and impacts of metals thefts in Indianapolis. This is the first report on a pilot study to establish protocol for collecting, coding, and analyzing metals theft data from crime reports. It provides descriptive data on metals thefts from January through March of 2008. Tables, figure, and notes