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Gutter-Related Health & SafetyGuttersUncategorized

When Is a Gutter an Accessory to a Crime?

By December 22, 2012October 16th, 2023No Comments

You don’t usually put the words “gutter” and “crime” in the same sentence. That’s usually true except when a gutter is…

1. …used to climb up onto a home by a burglar. For “enterprising” criminals, a gutter can serve as a handhold, which can be used to pull himself up onto a second story roof or through an unlocked window. Many of today’s gutters are so well-installed that they are able to support the full weight of a human — even one with nefarious aims. This fact has prompted many people in Britain to coat their gutters with “anti-climb paint” — a slick, gooey substance that ostensibly prevents would-be criminals from gripping or shimmying up.

Gutter An Accessory To Crime

2. …stolen to be sold for scrap. This type of crime has become more popular in an economy where jobs are less plentiful, metal prices are climbing, and construction projects are often abandoned or unsecured. It is not uncommon for metal thieves to tear off fully-installed gutters from homes or buildings and then sell them to a scrap metal dealer for cash. This doesn’t happen as often to structures that are inhabited, but homeowners can deter this type of crime by illuminating their yards with motion-sensor lighting or paring back foliage to eliminate areas of concealment for metal thieves.

3. …wielded as a weapon. A 10-foot section of aluminum gutter is lightweight enough to be swung like a club (heavier metals like copper work even better), and its sharp edges can do some damage to unprotected skin if a strike is on the mark. Moreover, these pieces of guttering can be found in large numbers in junkyards, scrapyards, and abandoned buildings. And even though a gutter section might not be a person’s initial weapon of choice, assaults have been recorded with even more unusual weapons, like toilet seats, stone crucifixes, raw meat, fish, a deer head, a Bible, a Justin Bieber doll, and even a live alligator.

4. …used as a nest for an endangered species. Sadly, there are some homeowners who put off cleaning their gutters for so long that birds, rodents, squirrels, snakes, bugs, and other critters begin taking up residence. To be clear, having filthy, animal-infested gutters is usually not a crime in itself. But if you try to remove those animals, you could be breaking the law — especially if the creature in your gutters is on the endangered species list. Though there hasn’t been a case of this actually happening in recent memory, a homeowner would probably have to jump through a host of legal hoops just to reclaim his or her gutters again — or face criminal penalties.

5. …used as a place to hide drug paraphernalia. This really happened in Dayton, Ohio in November of 2012. Police had been called to the scene of a vacant home where some people had been congregating to engage in drug-related activities. While officers were questioning suspects inside, an officer waiting outside looked up to the second floor, where he saw a woman lean out of an upstairs window and stash her drug paraphernalia in a rain gutter. The woman and two others were discovered hiding upstairs and were taken into custody.