A couple of months ago, while waiting outside a brick oven pizza restaurant on Reade Street, I noticed a gentleman with a shopping cart; not a surprising sight in New York City.
At the corner was a construction site, and as soon as construction stopped for the day, a long rubber coated tube was carted out onto the sidewalk two blocks from City Hall. The man sliced open the rubber and culled out the copper.
This always happens a lot in cities like Baltimore, which is why construction is such a problem, but now it is prevalent everywhere.
Recently, a statue honoring the late Yankee pitcher Corey Lidle was brought down in California in what may have been an attempt to steal its metal. Putting aside the blatant disrespect of doing something like that, there is the clear sign that this is a growing issue. It is not a new issue, but it is spreading faster than before.
According to Ryan Holeywell, a writer for Governing Magazine, insurance claims for stolen copper alone is up 36 percent in three years, or by about 34,000 additional claims.
Missing metals can backlog construction and drive costs through the roof. (Pun not intended, but welcomed).
Why do we care are about this low-level, property-based crime? New York City, and now Queens and Brooklyn especially, is undergoing a lot of new construction. The last thing the boroughs need is higher development costs.
Other states are cracking down by directing more police activity in this direction. It may be hard for New York City to do likewise with everything else there is to worry about, but development is a key part of the city’s economy.
If stealing copper and metals is easy enough to do in broad daylight in Manhattan, it has to be much easier in Rockaway or Ozone Park or Williamsburg. This is the kind of thing the city needs to get its arms around before it gets worse.
More On Common Core
State Senator Joseph Addabbo feels a lot better about Common Core standards after reviewing the 19 changes that the Board of Regents injected into the policy. What worries him is something that this column touched upon last week, which is that the program might be better off if it were eased a little more carefully into our existing education policy.
Ultimately, Addabbo would prefer to have Common Core standards kick in at the third-grade level, since some students do not have early education advantages like pre-K.
Whenever you speak with public officials you get two perspectives: one from teachers and one from parents. There should be another element to designing these standards. Colleges should weigh in on this.
College professors know what is ultimately expected from students, and they may have input that matters even for the lower levels. Smart education policy should come from the top down, not from the bottom up.
A triune approach to education policy where colleges, teachers, and parents are involved would better prepare students for what is expected of them when they get to the next step in their lives.
Addabbo held a town hall meeting in Rockaway last Friday and is working on having one in Howard Beach. This is the time to voice concerns over Common Core. People may not be able to reverse the program, but it can be tweaked.