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Bell BCE-T says it has recently installed aerial alarms to prevent copper theft and vandalism to its infrastructure but wants governments to stiffen penalties for these crimes.

The telecommunications company says the alarms are designed to alert local law enforcement as soon as an incident is detected so they can respond quick enough to catch vandals.

The alarms already came in handy in February, when they alerted the RCMP to a cable cut in Fredericton, N.B. Bell says two men were arrested in the incident and charges against them are being finalized.

Bell says it’s seen almost 1,000 physical security incidents like the cable cut since January 2022 and copper theft is involved in 87 per cent of them. Each takes 10 to 12 hours to repair, often leaving Canadians without access to Internet, TV, home phone and emergency services.

To tackle the increase in incidents Bell has seen, it is calling on provincial and federal governments to help it better protect infrastructure by increasing fines linked to copper theft and related vandalism.

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