The theft of cables from the Belgian railway fell by 73% in 2014. This was announced by Infrabel, federal police and the SNCB in a joint press release on Friday. This is the second year in a row that a fall in these thefts has been recorded, as there was a 40% fall in 2013. With 217 thefts for 2014, the network says “these are the lowest and most encouraging figures in 6 years”.
For the three parties, “joint action by Infabel, the SNCB and especially the police and the government as part of the National Plan of Action against cable theft has been a huge success”.
The Plan, launched at the start of 2013, includes technical measures, such as replacing copper with aluminum, burying cables, and video surveillance or concentration of stock. But it also includes structural, legal and preventative measures. The government has, for example, created a law that forbids paying cash for copper. Infrabel launched an information campaign for local police and railway workers, giving them a kit describing the cables that are stolen most, so they can spot fraud more easily.
The fall is also due to “firm action by Securail and the police”. The SNCB security service performed 129 interventions on its own, and 34 in conjunction with police.
Passengers profit hugely from the massive drop in cable theft. In 2014, “162 thefts caused lots of delays, a total of 14,448 minutes, compared to 44,933 in 498 delays minutes for 2013”, a fall of 63%.
“But these encouraging figures will not stop us continuing to act”, the joint press release said. “Certain judiciary suburbs are targeted by thieves too often”. This is the case for Hainaut, as one theft in two takes place there. The Antwerp province and the Brussels region are also regularly hit.