THE MAGAZINE

Fusing to Fight Copper Thefts

By Matthew Harwood

Dominion’s security upgrades, such as camera systems and alarms, at higher risk facilities have enabled the company to disrupt several copper thefts. While they did not catch the thieves, they prevented them from taking anything.

Lambert believes the collaboration over copper thefts is an example of the value of having state fusion centers shift from a counterterrorism approach to one that deals with all crimes and all hazards. “Copper thefts at the right place could cause a chain reaction that could have catastrophic ramifications on our ability to function as a society and protect ourselves,” Lambert said. Critics, including civil libertarians and some counterterrorism stakeholders, however, call it mission creep.

Jenkins agrees that an all-crimes, all-hazards approach is the appropriate mission for intelligence fusion centers, because crimes like this could have broad ramifications for society. “If we didn’t address this problem, we believed that eventually we were going to have a significant [power] loss,” says Jenkins.

That doesn’t just affect Dominion, Lambert notes, it affects public safety as a whole.
 

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