PDT Staff Writer
Mike Livingston at Livingston and Company, Inc., believes that his company is ahead of the curve as the state legislature continues to construct a new law to try to curb scrap-metal theft. The Ohio House of Representatives voted 81-10 to require dealers to photograph anyone who sells scrap to scrap dealers. Dealers couldn’t buy from anyone who refuses to be photographed, and they would have to keep the pictures for 60 days.
“I heard about where they wanted you to photograph your customers, and keep them for 60 days, and if they refused to be photographed, you’re not allowed to wait on them,” Livingston said. “But as far as we go, it’s not going to affect us any. We’ve already got a video system set up, and it records everybody that sits on the scales, everybody that comes in our warehouse, and everybody that comes in our office. So with our video system, you can just pull up the video footage, hit a button that says ‘snapshot,’ and it’s got a picture right there that is ready for them. So we’ve already got a video system in place that we have had for years.”
Livingston said the system keeps recorded footage from two to four weeks depending on how busy the company is during that time period.
“We’ve got a motion detector system that if someone comes on the property it kicks all the cameras on,” Livingston said. “If we need a little more space, all we have to do is bump up the hard drive, and we would be set and ready to go. If it says that we actually have to pull out a camera and take a snapshot, to me it would seem very silly. If you’ve got a video system in place that already captures everything, from the time they pull on the lot until they leave, I can’t see why that wouldn’t be better.”
Livingston said a recent experience at Livingston and Company shows the effectiveness of their security system.
“There were some people earlier this week that brought in some stolen material, and I was just able to pull up the video, and get a snapshot of his face, taken two feet away from the camera, a picture of him setting things down on the scales, and a picture of him walking in our office to get paid,” Livingston said. “Of course we didn’t pay him. The police were called and the whole nine yards. But we were able to provide everything they could possibly need. Walking up to someone and just snapping their picture just seems a little overboard.”
Livingston said it is his company’s policy to take down the driver license and the license tag was in place before previous laws were established.
“We started that in (20)07, and they didn’t pass that law until it was either 2008 or 2009,” Livingston said. “We already had that done and were doing it for at least a year and a half before they passed that law. We always try to stay ahead of the curve. You either follow the law or you don’t.”
He did say there needs to be more enforcement of the rules across the board.
Under the measure, dealers must also register with the state’s Director of Public Safety.
High prices for copper and other metals in a struggling economy have spurred thefts of scrap-metal, leading to millions of dollars in losses and property damage as thieves rip off air conditioners, plumbing and cable from homes and businesses.
The Senate recently passed a version of the bill and would have to agree to house changes in order for it to be sent to the governor’s office.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.