No, people. that's not a spelling error, and when you read on, you'll know why.
One man's trash is another man's treasure. So goes the saying, but today, what we're seeing is that the OTHER man is not waiting for the first man to even accumulate trash.
He's going for the good stuff long before it ever becomes trash..
Now I'll be the first one to tell you that our part of Ft. Wayne sees the greatest number of stolen cars...AND the greatest number of houses hit by scrappers...AND the most gas pump driveoffs.
Well, that's what happens when criminals hold court.
The rising prices of fuel dictated that these thugs start tapping your tank, because its still costs THEM to pay at the pump. And they don't like to pay., but they DO enjoy making OTHER people pay. It's just the nature of the beast.
The rising costs of scrap metals have done likewise to their markets. Hell, the cost of platinum alone has risen to OVER $1000 an OUNCE! So that places every single CATALYTIC CONVERTER on EVERY vehicle at risk for theft...while it's STILL on the vehicle.
And copper prices have risen as well.
This places every one of YOU at risk of being the next "player" in this perverse game of "Where's my $hit".
Whether it's the pipes or siding of your house, all the way down to the fuel tank, or the exhaust system of your car, you DO have a nice, large BULLSEYE painted on you.
In Philadelphia, scrappers have taken to removing (get this)...MANHOLE COVERS. They manage to sell them for a mere $5-$10 at a scrapyard, but since the "value" of such metals has risen 2500% (thanks to demand from India and China), it's small wonder WHY the manhole covers come up among the missing.
I don't make this stuff up, people. Parts of the Southwestern and Northern parts of the city resemble a damn SLALOM course with all the orange cones placed along the streets.
Empty beer kegs are also being stolen from bars, restaurants, and distributors for the aluminum.
And forget converting that DIESEL engine of yours to run on COOKING GREASE (for next to nothing). The latest news says that on a per pound average, cooking grease from eateries as risen to a price close to $2.50 a gallon (after processing). That's up to about 33 CENTS A POUND, as compared to the year 2000, when the same grease sold for 7.6 CENTS a pound!
It's becoming a world of anarchy in this aspect.
There have been neighborhoods in Cleveland that were so hit by scrappers that the areas must be abandoned and turned into green spaces.
Now we could blame the foreclosure rates for some of this, but let's face facts; it's the scrappers aka the criminal element that has taken over.
When entire city neighborhoods become so depopulated that there is no longer ANY viability to those areas, there is little choice to do anything else.
Detroit has seen it. So has Cleveland, and Cincy, and parts of Chicago, Philly, and most every other major city. And because these cities are operationally at a budget deficit already, there is little impetus to revive those places so laid to waste.
No one wants to toss good money after bad...not in these times at least. What developer in his (or her) right mind wants to take THAT big of a chance, when they can just bop into a casino and "give" their money away THERE?
Fort Wayne may be close approaching it's own tipping point in that regard. We already HAVE areas so inundated by crime and a rising depopulation. We have seen well over FIFTY businesses (and one mall) leave the South side alone over the past decade with little revitalization to take their place.
I've seen alleged "junkmen" drive past a house that had a gutter knocked down by a windy day, only to watch them load up that gutter into their POS pickup, rather than just place it back on the property that was trying to be rented out, no doubt for some booze money. The irony comes when this SAME junkman becomes "chummy" with the people currently renting the house (that still has NOT had the gutter replaced - another code violation).
We've even seen and heard of people that have had their air conditioning condenser units stolen from off of the property (lots of copper tubing in THERE, that's for sure).
We've had barbecue grills "liberated" right off of patios and back yards by the aforementioned junkmen, all looking for the "fast buck".
I suppose it makes a good case for chaining down the patio furniture, unless these scrappers decide to take the CHAINS as well as the FURNITURE.
But people have to make a living, no matter WHO they make a victim in the process.
And therein lies the real issue.
We are ALL fast becoming victims. There is no such thing as a victimless crime these days.
And scrapping bears witness to that.
If it's not some guys tearing the pipes out of some empty house, it's another person actually breaking into a fenced off electric company substation for copper wire.
And so many times, it's not about "just putting food on the tables" across America.
Oh, no...it's about feeding whatever habit these thieves suffer from, be it booze, drugs, sex, or whatever.
And the rest of us wind up paying for it.
Perhaps we could take a page from the nation of Turkey and start lopping off the hands of such thieves.
Nah, we're much to "civilized" to consider that. We'd much rather waste an enormous amount of money in a vain attempt to "understand and rehabilitate" such people. Well, we've been seeing how well programs like that have worked with much more dangerous criminals over the past 100 years, haven't we?
It's worked about as much as the multi-generational welfare families and their offspring have.
And that would be NIL.
Still, having a bunch of one-handed people walking about would send a strong message to those thinking of following in such footsteps.
Not to mention it would help the programs for the disabled and physically-challenged to no small degree.
See? We CAN find a silver lining in that storm cloud.
All we have to do is TRY.