OKLAHOMA CITY – If you drive around Oklahoma City often, you have probably come across a street light outage a time or two.
City officials say Oklahoma City has about 34,000 streets, which has made it a big target for copper thieves.
In the past 20 months, copper thieves have stolen 13 miles of copper wire.
Starting earlier this year, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt asked for the city council to get a better idea of the issue regarding the outages.
Since they began prioritizing the issue, they say there have been more stings on metal recyclers and an additional officer was added to Oklahoma City’s metal theft unit.
Also, the repair effort has escalated dramatically. The copper wires are being replaced with aluminum, which is not as valuable and rarely stolen.
In the past month and a half, crews have repaired nine large outages along highways. Officials say they expect to be caught up with the highway streetlights by the end of the summer.
However, experts say some of the highway lights remain completely under ODOT jurisdiction due to construction projects, so those lights cannot be repaired by Oklahoma City crews.
Officials say Oklahoma City drivers can easily report streetlight outages through OG&E’s improved process.