Gulfport Taking Action Against Copper Thefts

Over the past year, copper theft has cost Biloxi radio station WQFX thousands of dollars.

"They've stolen copper right outside of our transmitter site, and as a result, it affects our signal. We are in the process of replacing that equipment yet again," Program Director Patrick Bass says.

But now, the station has taken steps to help keep its music ministry on the air.

"We've certainly added more locks, security and things that would prevent or hinder would-be thieves," says Bass.

Gulfport Police say they would advise businesses, if possible, to take their security a step further.

"I would like every business that deals with wire, copper or metal to have video cameras, working video cameras over their yards or storage," says Detective Lynette Garriga, Gulfport police.

It's not only radio stations; building sites seem to be constant targets.  Gulfport police launched its new Site Watch program four months ago to tackle the problem.

"The program is very new. It has shown some benefits. We have used this program several times. I had one instance where a business owner was walking out her building with some supplies and an officer actually stopped her and questioned her. That's what the program is all about," says Lieutenant Mike Shaw.

In Gulfport, builders can sign up for the program when they pick up their building permits. Regardless of where the thieves hit, those who have been affected have some advice.

"Keep your eyes open. If you see some strange activities or individuals in the area, report it.  Hopefully, that will curb this problem and we can all get back to some sort of a normal life," says Bass.

For more information on how to protect your business from copper theft or the Gulfport Police Department's Site Watch Program, call (228) 868-5703.