Can’t Make This Up: Oakland Replaces Traffic Lights With Stop Signs After Homeless Steal Copper Wire

Oakland city officials decided to take down a traffic light at a busy intersection after homeless people repeatedly stole copper wire from an electrical box that supplied power to the lights.

CBS has reported that city officials have since replaced the traffic light with a four-way stop sign to prevent thieves from stealing more copper.

The city of Oakland initially placed large cement blocks as barriers to prevent thieves from accessing the electrical box, but the barriers were quickly removed.

Locals familiar with the matter stated that a local homeless encampment extending from 12th Street to 17th and 14th Avenues has been using the electrical box as a power source for their electronics.

Per CBS:

Oakland has removed the traffic lights from one intersection and replaced them with 4-way stop signs due to people stealing copper and then tampering with an electrical box.

It’s a sight that has made drivers do a double take: a stop sign hanging overhead where a traffic light would normally be, located above the intersection of E. 12th Street and 16th Avenue in Oakland.

Neighbors said city workers removed the all the traffic lights in the last week and replaced them with four-way stop signs. The installation came after months of people stealing copper wires and tampering with the city electrical boxes that supply power to the traffic lights.

“It’s just telling us that the city is giving up on us,” said Tam Le, owner of Le’s Auto Body & Engine Repair, located at the corner of the intersection.

Neighbors said the lights that were there before hadn’t worked in months, either blinking red or being completely out.

KTLA reported the city of Los Angeles received over 11,000 calls regarding street lights going dark due to thieves stripping copper from light posts.

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