VIDEO: Police Discuss Impact of Scrap Metal Theft on Communities

The recycling industry's 10-year-old online scrap metal theft reporting system — which enables law enforcement to broadcast alerts to local scrap facilities to be on the lookout for stolen scrap material such as copper wire and other valuable metals — has reached the milestone of more than 10,000 registered law enforcement users, according to a press release issued by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

The online service — dubbed ScrapTheftAlert — enables users to upload detailed descriptions and photos so that nearby recycling facilities can be on the lookout for stolen materials.

"The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries through strong relationships with law enforcement has increased the availability of and is making a difference in the fight against metals theft,” said Brady Mills — director of law enforcement outreach for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) — in a written statement.

According to Department of Energy estimates, metal theft costs — including lost revenue and damages related to the thefts — total $1 billion each year, and repairs often cost much more money than the value of the stolen property.

Overall there more than 24,000 total registered users including private security, companies, and individual users in addition to law enforcement, according to ISRI. The organization says that as a result of the system, some $2,744,679 worth of property has been recovered.