New data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau reveals that metal theft claims are down more than 78 percent since 2014.

NICB analysts reviewed a total of 27,514 insurance claims for metal thefts occurring from January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2017—98 percent of them for copper theft. The annual breakdown is as follows: 2014 (12,682), 2015 (7,995), 2016 (4,063) and 2017 (2,774). The decrease from 2014 to 2017 was 78.1 percent.

Much of the credit for these significant reductions is due to state legislatures and municipalities, working with their law enforcement agencies, to enact tough laws targeting copper and other metal thefts, NICB says. Many of these laws require scrap yards and recyclers to document the transaction and obtain proof of identity to discourage thieves from trying to cash in on their crimes, it adds, which has increased public awareness as well.

The top five states for metal theft claims were: Ohio (2,851), New Jersey (2,520), Pennsylvania (2,382), New York (1,927) and Illinois (1,491). When ranked by the number of claims per 100,000 in population, the top five states are: Connecticut (32.830), New Jersey (27.982), Ohio (24.454), Rhode Island (23.970) and Delaware (21.207).

The top five Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) were: New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (1,938), Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (1,731), Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (1,246), Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD (810) and Cleveland-Elyria, OH (652). A total of 2,025—or 7 percent—of metal theft claims were either located outside of a CBSA or did not provide sufficient information to be included in a CBSA.