Many people are surprised to learn just how often condensers (the outside part of an air conditioning system) are stolen. Criminals will most often strike when you're away from home on a trip or at work, since moving a condenser makes a lot of noise. One of the reasons why condensers are such a draw for thieves is that they contain a lot of copper, which the thieves can sell. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent this kind of theft.
Lock the Disconnect Box
The disconnect box on your outdoor AC system is used to disconnect it from its supply of electricity so it can be safely worked on. Thieves who want to stay alive will generally use this to turn off the power to the condenser so they can remove it without being electrocuted. If you put a lock on the disconnect box, you can significantly increase the chance that a thief will leave your condenser alone.
No thief wants to be caught and arrested, which is why they don't want to be seen doing what they're doing. By adding lights outside your home (and specifically around your condenser), you will make the unit a less appealing target.
Install a Security Camera
While a security camera doesn't guarantee that a thief won't steal your condenser, having a camera will make them less likely to try (as long as they know it's there). This last point is why you should put a "you are being watched by video surveillance" sticker on the side of the condenser and other visible areas. At the very least, the police may be able to use the video to find and convict the criminal.
Install a Cage
This is probably the most effective method of preventing condenser theft. These cages can be purchased at building supply and home improvement stores and are easily installed. If you choose to make a custom cage or have someone else make one for you, keep in mind that it's essential that your condenser still be able to get an unrestricted airflow.
Put Locks on All Gates
While this may seem fairly obvious, many people simply aren't as cautious with the security outside their home as they should be. By just locking your gate with an effective padlock and forcing the criminal to climb the fence, you can often discourage them from entering your yard.
For more ideas on how to keep your condenser secure, talk to a company like Comfort Zone Heating Air Conditioning.