STREET lights in Klang are being damaged by thieves who rip off the metal opening in lamp posts for scrap and steal the fuses and copper wire within.
Klang Municipal Council (MPK) has had to spend thousands of ringgit to fix the damage and replace the parts.
MPK Engineering Department’s Mechanical and Electrical Unit (M&E) engineer Jasmi Hamzah said thieves armed with hammers and bolt cutters were targeting lamp posts to make quick cash.
“In all cases, the thieves appear to strike at times when there are few people around.
“They use a hammer to smash the metal doors off its hinges, snatch the fuses from their brackets and cut out the wires.
“The metal doors, the 5Amp fuse and copper wiring are sold to scrap yards for RM25 to RM30, but to repair and replace lost wiring costs MPK RM300 per lamp post.
“Because of the thieves, our ratepayers’ monies have to be used for repairs,” he added.
Jasmi showing the new utility box placed 2.4m above ground level
Jasmi said the council had been using a new approach to tackle the problem.
The council’s M&E Unit has created metal utility boxes, costing RM500 each, that are placed 2.4m above ground to deter thieves and protect the electrical fittings.
“Our team of nine members came up with this simple idea where the utility box is mounted higher on lamp posts to deter vandalism and theft,” he said.
Jasmi said the utility boxes were being used in Bandar Botanic, and Bandar Bukit Tinggi 1 and 2, and they have seen a drastic drop in vandalism of the council’s lamp posts.
“In 2016, out of the 329 complaints of streetlights not working, 48 cases of vandalism were noted in these three areas.
“In 2017, out of 232 cases of street lights not functioning, only two cases were due to vandalism, a 95.83% drop.
“So far, the effort has been a pilot project and we hope the department will expand the refitting of the utility box for all lamp posts,” he said.
Jasmi said the metal utility box was easy to instal and maintain.
“With the metal utility box, we can padlock it and it is difficult to disassemble the fittings from the outside. With the deterrence in place, thieves will move on to easier targets rather than spend a lot of time and risk being caught,” he said.
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