The Indianapolis Metal Theft Project seeks to gather and analyze a wide variety of data that will provide a clearer understanding of the incidence, types, costs, and impacts of metal theft in Indianapolis (Marion County) in order to inform and implement strategies to reduce these crimes.
Metal theft describes the theft of items for the value of their constituent metals. These thefts include a variety of crimes, such as: stealing catalytic converters from cars for their platinum, rhodium and palladium; and stealing copper wires and cable; plumbing; air conditioners and parts for the copper; aluminum siding and gutters; and so on. It is generally agreed that metal thefts have gone up because of steep increases in the prices of metals, spurred by an increase in world demand for metals and increased speculative investment in base metals.
Jurisdictions across the country are reporting increased concerns over metal thefts. Yet, few jurisdictions have hard data on the exact numbers and types of metal thefts occurring. In 2008, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and the University of Indianapolis Community Research Center (CRC) began a collaborative effort to collect such data on metal theft in Indianapolis.
The Metal Theft Database Pilot Study reports on the CRCs initial efforts to establish a protocol for collecting, coding, and analyzing metal theft data from IMPD crime reports. The report provides some descriptive frequencies of metal theft crimes in Indianapolis (Marion County) for January through March of 2008.