A metro company recently developed a new technology, with the goal of saving area residents money and stopping criminals at the same time.
The Kansas City area has recently seen several street lights go dark after they were targeted by copper thieves.
Officials say neighborhoods near US 71 Highway between Truman and Bannister Roads has been a hotbed. And, the crimes are leaving Kansas City drivers in the dark, creating a public safety concern.
Elecsys Corporation, headquartered in Lenexa, KS, created Light Guard Pulse, a remote monitoring system that detects interruptions in the power supply and then immediately alerts system operators.
After receiving an alert, operators can dispatch police to the location and hopefully catch the criminals before the copper is taken. Officials say the technology also works to alert cities of light poles that are out.
“If street lighting is out, there’s a potential for crime. With this system, the cities don’t have to rely on people reporting it, they will know immediately when a light has gone out and they can dispatch a crew to take care of the situation,” Elecsys President Mike Morgan said.
The technology also protects road-side equipment like electronic traffic signs and message boards.
“We are still seeing a high occurrence rate of them. But we get on scene quicker and the damage is less.,” KC Scout Project Manager Mark Sommerhauser said. “Instead of them breaking up a half a mile, they are only breaking up a few hundred feet.”
When criminals strike, they are only able to get a couple of dollars for the copper they steal, but to fix it, the cost skyrockets. And, many times, criminals are cutting the wrong wires.
“The fiber optic cable is glass and has zero recycling value. A copper wire might have a couple dollars’ worth and those can easily cost $10,000 in less than 15 minutes. As much as $25,000 when we talk about a fiber optic cable,” Sommerhauser said.
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