Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stealing sun and water

News in crime: theft of solar panels and fresh water is up.

March 2008 we saw people stealing bees, essentially a work force in horticulture up in demand and down in availability due to diseases. Lately I have seen stories about people stealing water and solar panels.

In fact, Treehuger / Solar Panel Theft is Rampant in California Wineries links to older stories about the trend and has tips on securing your panels! In New Mexico police busted a couple of criminals who seemed to have specialized in solar panel theft and dealing (see Solar panel theft ring busted in Farmington). Energy prices are up, solar panels are expensive, in demand and out there often not being watched and relatively easy to run off with.

Then there is water. Most obviously in need in poor, drought stricken areas, right. Like Kenya where a crime syndicate is diverting half the capitals water for farm irrigation. In the city water is now rationed and feared a possible source of disease. (See BBC / Nairobi water 'stolen for farms'.) But the truth is we need not go to the "third world" to see crime erupt over resources. As prices go up so does the incentive to "bend rules" a bit it seems. I'm sure this example of corruption - city workers tampering with water bills - is far from the first, the only or the last we'll see.

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