Securing the Salvage Yard

From perimeter fencing to a complete camera system, how one Houston-area business fights crime

Laviage says the police instead need to have more officers on the street patrolling.

Garcia agrees there needs to be more patrolling, but insists there also needs to be a level of corporate responsibility.

"We want to make sure we're keeping an eye on what's happening on the street, but we want to make sure if guys do get away from us it's going to be difficult for them to sell their stolen merchandise," he said.

"It would help us prevent the thefts from occurring that are occurring today."

Other amendments include requiring the yards to forward their database of sellers and items bought to the Houston Police Department daily, have dealers file a bond with their license applications, and increase license renewal fees.

Read Langford, president of Spectrum Metal Recyclers, said he understands why the city feels the need to strengthen regulation of the industry. He met with city officials this week to talk about the proposed amendments.

His yard was also inspected recently. While he doesn't agree with recent actions, he does think something needs to be done.

A need to check

He likened the recent enforcement crackdown to a parent telling a child to keep their room clean but then never checking in to make sure it's done.

"Guess what happens? Their room gets kind of dirty," he said.

" Then if I pop in all of a sudden unannounced, well, that's how the scrap community feels.

"We need to do things better, there's no doubt. We first have to get some ordinances on the books that one, they can regulate, and two, we can understand and enforce."

Copyright (c) 2006, Houston Chronicle Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.