The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports that copper thefts are up at least 50 percent this year as a result of record copper prices.

To combat these thefts, one California farm has installed metal cages around its electric irrigation panels (not the pump, just the panel/meter/on-off switch). While the caging system is not inexpensive the farmer felt he had to do something to stop thefts. The cage is made up of 0.75-inch “sucker rod” that can be found at local farm supply stores.

“The thinking is that if the bad guys can’t turn the power off, they can’t steal any wire,” according to Stanislaus County Rural Crime Watch officials. The farm also has placed a sign indicating that cameras are monitoring the area.