As the cost of copper wire has soared amid growing worldwide demand, Los Angeles officials said Tuesday that thieves have stripped more than $200,000 worth of wire from city streetlamps. Council members Janice Hahn, Tom LaBonge and Jose Huizar called for a city task force to develop solutions that could include tougher penalties or imprinting an identifying stamp on the wire to prevent its resale. “The problem is it not only costs the city money, but it endangers public safety,” LaBonge said at a City Hall news conference. “It compromises the city’s ability to provide street lighting in our neighborhoods.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsCity officials said the problem is primarily in areas around the Los Angeles River and its bikeways, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles and the Harbor Area. Officials said teams of thieves can strip a light pole of 300 feet of wire within a couple of hours and most are working at night. They are able to get the wire by opening pull boxes adjacent to the streetlights and turning off the power. Police urged the public to call 911 if suspicious activity is observed near streetlights. Cynthia Ruiz, president of the Board of Public Works, estimated that such thefts have cost the city $1million. “That means a $1million cut in city services,” Ruiz said. “With an extra $1million, I could put out 10 more graffiti crews to clean up the city.” Officials with the District Attorney’s Office said one possibility is changing state law to require resellers of copper to register with the state to report any transaction, similar to requirements in effect for the sale of gold. [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!