Sunday, March 25, 2012

BT Tests Cable Tracking Technology to Deter Thieves

In an effort to deter copper theft, BT has been testing a tracking technology that can detect when a cable has been cut or damaged, accurately pin-pointing an incident to a road or street.

RABIT (Rapid Assessment Bt Incident Tracker), which was trialled in December 2011, alerts BT’s Security Control Centre and Police response teams when a cut is detected. The system has already forced cable thieves to flee the scene of the crime in Essex.

BT noted that the numbers of arrests related to cable theft are continuing to rise, with the average number of arrests per month up nearly eight per cent on last year. In the last 11 months the number of arrests has reached more than 480, already more than the 446 arrests in 2010. It is estimated that around 80% of BT’s cable theft is carried out by organised crime gangs. BT recovered 240 tonnes of stolen metal in the past eleven months, as a result of visits to scrap metal dealers and working with Police forces on targeted operations and national metal theft days of action.

  • In 2010, BT's Openreach division introduced an invisible, "SmartWater" forensic ink in its cabling across the UK as a deterrence to metal thieves. BT's Metal Theft Taskforce is using the SmartWater as a means to tag anyone tampering with its lines. SmartWater is a forensic marking liquid that is unique to a particular location. It will be used to mark the outer shell and inner core of Openreach cable, along with tools and other equipment. This will allow police to irrefutably identify where any stolen items have come from. Any thieves who target Openreach property face being sprayed with the liquid.

    BT and the British Transport Police the system, which is also interconnected with GPS, will be used in hot-spot areas to capture criminals red-handed.