May 17, 2024

The Nerve Archive

Where Government Gets Exposed

Next up: Why Prohibition Was a Smashing Success


Someone may want to let the Spartanburg Herald-Journal in on a little concept called “market forces.”

According to a Sunday article in the Upstate publication, copper theft is down in Spartanburg County due to a new law requiring those selling scrap metal to obtain permits.

“Between Aug. 16, when the law went into effect, and March 19, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office issued 13,569 scrap metal permits,” the paper wrote. “As a result, copper theft is down about 15 percent in the county, Sheriff Chuck Wright said.”

Nowhere in the article does it say that the price of copper has dropped about 15 percent over the past year, which may have stymied potential scofflaws’ willingness to steal non-ferrous metals.

As The Nerve reported last month in a story about lawmakers attempting to pass even more legislation in a bid  to thwart the theft and illegal sale of copper, the price of the malleable metal has fallen to around $3.80 a pound on the London Metal Exchange, from approximately $4.50 a year ago.

But the way the Herald-Journal sees it, more laws equals less malfeasance.

However, if reducing crime was simply a matter of legislation, murder, rape and armed robbery would have been wiped from the earth long ago.

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The Nerve