Criminals Steal Credit Card Capable Meters for $10

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Criminals Steal Credit Card Capable Meters for $10

Thieves are stealing parking meter heads in the Canadian city of St. John’s. About 290 meter heads have gone missing, reports BBC.com. Losses include the money in the meter, the cost of a new meter and revenue lost during the time it takes to install the new meter. The thieves aren’t getting much, but the city loses plenty.

But thieves can only expect a low return on their crime – the average meter collects less than $10 per day, with only a small proportion of that in cash, as increasing numbers of drivers are paying by card.

The article reports that the credit card capable meters cost $474 to replace. Daily revenue is around $1,800. I’m curious about a cost-benefit analysis. A credit card capable meter contains less money, but is a more expensive investment. I’m going to estimate a coin only meter costs $300 to replace. We’ll say it takes five days to replace any meter.

A stolen coin only meter would lose $1,800 the first day and $1,800 for five more days, plus $300. The credit card meter loses $10 the first day, $1,800 for five days and costs $474 to replace.

My accounting abilities are not advanced and my understanding of the scenario is somewhat limited, but it’s clear the city loses less money when the credit card capable meters are stolen – depending, of course, on the time of day the theft occurs and when the meter was last emptied. And maybe meter thieves will give up stealing meters if they find out they’re cutting steel posts for a measly $10.

 

Either way, St. John’s officials are evaluating their parking payment provisions.

Councillor Sandy Hickman told CBC “I think enough people at City Hall now realize that we need to look at alternative methods of charging for parking on the side of the streets,” suggesting kiosks where people can pay for parking spaces.

Read the article here.

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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