Copper theft is beginning to become a major economic problem in Catalonia. Its impact goes beyond the thousands of citizens affected by the recurring episodes of chaos in Rodalies, the last one, which is still ongoing, on election day on May 12. Industrial companies are also being harmed by this crime wave, with a high cost on their activity.

The first public voice of alarm has been raised by the Agrupació de Polígons de Terrassa, an entity that represents more than 1,800 companies located in the Valles co-capital. The industrial fabric of the city had already suffered periodic thefts in the past, but the problem has been increasing to the point that last weekend there were four thefts of the coveted material in four different companies in the same area. The thieves extracted the copper through the companies’ electrical grid transformer.

“We are worried; “This situation is generating serious consequences for companies, forcing them to interrupt the provision of their services, paralyze production processes or delay deliveries, in addition to the direct cost of replacing and repairing the material,” laments Jordi Vilar, president of the Agrupació de Polygons of Terrassa.

The problem is even more serious given the business fabric that abounds in the sector. The majority of industrial companies are SMEs and have limited resources to face these deteriorations or hire private security. The Egarense entity, integrated into Cecot, is coordinating with the Mossos d’Esquadra and expanding the installation of security cameras with AI in the industrial estates to try to avoid these repeated incidents.

But it is not just a local problem. Copper thefts in companies are occurring throughout Catalonia, confirmed by both the Cecot employers’ association and the Consell Territorial de la Pime, which is part of Foment del Treball.

“The affected companies will not be able to continue supporting sine die these losses that put at risk their viability, the employment of their staff and, ultimately, that of the entire local economy,” emphasizes Xavier Panés, president of Cecot.

Employers and business associations therefore demand increased security in industrial zones. Rodalies is the most striking part of the problem, but copper theft is putting a growing number of companies in check.