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Power Theft: The Silent Crime

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 57 Issue: 3 Dated: (March 1988) Pages: 20-25
K A Seger; D J Icove
Date Published
6 pages
A coordinated effort between utility companies and law enforcement agencies can help combat meter tampering and power theft.
Three of the most common methods for stealing power include inverting the meter, causing it to run backwards; placing metal straps behind the meter to divert some of the electricity from the meter reading; and switching meters. Utilities have the responsibility to assess the extent of the crime in their service area and to establish methods and procedures for identifying thieves. They must also determine their objectives once they detect potential thefts. Some utilities conduct all their investigations and followup actions, and other systems use local police to assist them in investigations. Since many utilities do not have personnel with the experience or qualifications to conduct a criminal investigation, the police should be consulted. Even if utilities elect to conduct their own investigations, they will still need advice, assistance, and training from the police. If a utility decides to work with the police to combat utilities theft, procedures must be established for the coordinated effort. 23 footnotes.