It used to be that people only needed a security system to protect their homes and properties because they were occupied and full of their belongings.  What is becoming more prevalent now is that vacant buildings and homes are being targeted more often by vandals, vagrants and thieves.  Since the downturn in the economy began the price of metals such as copper and brass have steadily risen.  The proliferation of so many vacant properties has created a perfect storm of sorts for the owners of those properties.  Every week we find out about someone who made the mistake of waiting to protect their investment and paid the price for procrastinating.  The most vulnerable properties are the ones that are never occupied.  Copper thieves, vandals and local vagrants quickly take notice when a tenant moves out.


The process begins when the realty signs go up.  They are like beacons because they know that soon the building will be left completely unprotected. Building owners don’t want to pay for power or phone service if the building is not being used and not generating any revenue for them so they tend to turn everything off.  That is a huge mistake that they might end up regretting.  What we are seeing is that almost immediately after the occupants move out the damage starts to happen.  Graffiti and broken windows are pretty common but what is most disturbing is the vandalism and theft that occurs after it becomes apparent that no one is coming to check on it.  They begin methodically removing every piece of metal in the building.  The drywall is smashed to reveal all the copper plumbing and wiring which is completely stripped from walls of the building.  The copper in all the air conditioning units and hot water heaters is stolen.  When they are done all the mechanical systems on the entire property will be stripped of anything that is valuable and basically all that is left is a shell of a building that is totally unusable and uninhabitable.


We suggest you take the following steps to protect your property.  Leave the power on when possible.  Many of the deterrents that you might decide to use will probably require it.  If you have an alarm system you should use it.  Make sure that it is in good working condition.  If you don’t have one this is the time to make the investment.  Camera systems are a good way to identify problems as well and a lot of them now offer the capability of viewing and storing the video off-site.  Depending on the location and type of property it might even be appropriate to have it patrolled by a guard service or hire them to stand post there permanently until the building is occupied again.  Of course none of these things are free but then again neither is replacing all the drywall, plumbing and wiring in the entire building.  Repairing a single commercial a/c unit after it has been vandalized can cost $5,000.00 or more.  The cost of not doing anything or turning the power off can far outweigh whatever fees you are paying to keep the power and security in place.



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