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Posted on: May 29, 2018

Streetlight Wire Theft

Streetlight copper wire thefts are a problem in Gig Harbor, the surrounding area, and the nation. Not only is this crime costing our community hundreds of thousands of unbudgeted dollars, but the crime itself can be dangerous to criminals and residents.

With over 1000 streetlights and additional junction box targets throughout our community, Gig Harbor needs watchful residents to help.

Activities to Watch For

1The first stage of this crime may occur in broad daylight.

  • Criminals may use official-looking white vans or pickups and orange construction vests to avoid suspicion. Legitimate streetlight crews will generally be in bucket-trucks, marked with official City logos.
  • To locate a covered junction box, criminals may poke around in grass turf.
  • The thief may drop something, such as a bicycle or construction cones, over a junction box to hide their activity.
  • They may break into and then cut the streetlight or junction box wires to ensure darkness when they return to steal the wire later that night.

The criminals may return after dark to finish their efforts.

  • They may draw the wire out by hand or by tying it to a vehicle or bicycle to yank it out quickly.
  • Often the wire is stuffed into a backpack.

2Report a crime in-progress to the Gig Harbor Police Department by dialing 911.


Junction boxes may be embedded in concrete, soil or grass.


Streetlight access panels are generally located near the base of streetlights.

When citizens report a streetlight outage, the top priority of Public Works Department crews is to secure the site for public safety. To report an outage that has not yet been addressed, call 911 or the main city hall phone number (253) 851-8136.

Repair Prioritization 

  1. Repairs that can be quickly fixed during the initial public safety inspection
  2. High pedestrian or traffic use areas
  3. The order of when outages were reported

Over the past several years our community and others have met with mixed success implementing various prevention methods. Yet, with your help, we can make it harder for criminals to get away with stealing Gig Harbor’s public property in the first place.

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