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Date Published: 
May, 2012
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Thematic Area: 

Over the last decade, scrap metal theft has emerged as an epidemic across the globe. Fuelled by rising metal prices, metal theft has become the fastest growing crime in the U.K since 2008, and as many as 200 cast iron manhole covers were stolen in Chicago in one month in 2007. A noticeable increase in scrap metal theft in Jamaica coincided with the sudden rise in scrap metal prices in 2003. Exports soon experienced explosive growth, increasing from US$13.3 million in 2005 to US$ 99.58 million in 2006. This paper distills the lessons from the international scrap metal experience to inform the Jamaican context and makes policy recommendations for the effective regulation of the industry, so as to restrain scrap metal theft to a negligible or tolerable level, while allowing exports to take place.