Tuesday, November 8, 2011

From Copper To Grease, Thieves Will Take It

NPR had a story yesterday on the rise in thieves targeting used cooking oil collected by restaurants. Given the increased demand for used cooking oil to be recycled into bio-fuels, this isn't too surprising.
Restaurants and grease recyclers have been forced to move barrels inside, lock them up, or install surveillance cameras, according to Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association in Alexandria, Va. "It's become the new copper," a commodity that also attracts thieves, Cook tells The Salt.

Yellow grease, the proper name for cooking oil that's had the food and trash filtered out of it, is selling for about 40 cents a pound, almost five times what it was a decade ago. That means a gallon of yellow grease today sells for more than $3 a gallon — on par with a gallon of milk.
When looking at any crime problem, it often helps to look at it using The Crime Triangle. In repeat theft cases like this, the common denominator is often the place/victim. The first step in dealing with this crime problem is probably to get the victims to exercise better guardianship over their property. This could go a long way towards changing the cost/benefit ratio for the grease thief to one that isn't in his favor.

Any outreach effort focusing on restaurants should also probably include obtaining reliable after hours contact information for the business. That way if an enterprising Patrol Officer catches someone making off with barrels of grease behind the business at 3AM, they can get the victim to respond so a criminal case can be made against the thief.

Has your jurisdiction had success in dealing with grease thieves? What strategy was the easiest and most effective to implement?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I reserve the right to remove defamatory, libelous, inappropriate or otherwise stupid comments. If you are a spammer or are link baiting in the comments, a pox be upon you. The same goes for people trying to sell stuff. Your comment will be deleted without mercy.