Every year, the U.S. construction industry loses approximately $1 billion to construction site theft. Furthermore, for every instance of theft they experience, contractors lose an average of $6,000.
Stealing from construction sites is already a severe and countrywide issue. However, it’s likely to become an even more pressing issue as the cost of materials continues to rise (they’ve gone up by 33 percent since 2020!).
Can you afford to lose thousands of dollars to a construction zone heist? Probably not.
The good news is various strategies exist to prevent theft on construction sites. Here are eight effective procedures to implement today.
1. Establish Clear Physical Boundaries
The first step to preventing construction site theft is clarifying where your site begins and ends. The easiest way to do this is to install fencing along the perimeter and establish boundaries around the area.
A tall privacy fence helps to block valuable equipment from thieves’ view. However, even a simple chainlink fence can add an extra obstacle and keep opportunists away from your construction zone.
No matter what kind of fence you’re thinking about installing, consider placing barbed wire along the top to further deter thieves who might consider trying to climb over it.
2. Invest in Security Cameras
Fences work wonders when it comes to reducing the risk of theft. However, to further protect your job site, invest in and install security cameras throughout the construction area.
Strategically position the cameras so you can record activity across all areas of the site. Make sure the cameras record and store footage, too, so you can easily access and play it back as needed.
Your security cameras should also come with night vision features to ensure you can see what’s happening on the site at any time. Thermal cameras are also helpful for detecting long-range instructions and fires, as well as reading license plates.
3. Install Alarms
After installing cameras, consider taking things a step further and installing alarm systems.
Alarms will let you know when someone enters your site and can automatically alert the authorities. From here, the alarm company can immediately dispatch police to the area, increasing the likelihood of intruders getting caught.
Look for a wireless alarm system that sends messages and alerts straight to your smartphone. This type of system helps you stay informed about what’s happening at your job site, even when you’ve sent everyone home for the night.
Some people are hesitant about buying surveillance tools like cameras and alarms because of the upfront cost.
Keep in mind, though, that investing in this technology doesn’t just protect your current construction site. You can also take them with you and continue using them on future project sites.
4. Monitor Job Site Access
Construction site thieves aren’t always criminals who sneak into the site in the dead of night. They can also be people who waltz into the construction zone in broad daylight, masquerading as workers.
To prevent construction site theft, you must implement a policy to monitor those who have access to the area.
A controlled system that requires employees to swipe cards or tags whenever they enter or exit might seem overkill initially. However, it gives you a clear idea of who is or isn’t on the site at a given time.
This information comes in handy when narrowing down who was present when a theft occurred.
5. Use Anti-Theft Devices
To protect heavy machinery, consider installing keyless ignition systems.
These systems require operators to type in a unique PIN to start the machine instead of relying on a key. You can also program PINs to expire after a certain length of time to prevent employees from coming back and stealing from you in the future.
You can also mark equipment and tools of all sizes with identifiers like your company logo, a serial number, or an RFID (radio frequency identification) tag. These identifiers help you identify and recover stolen items if a thief tries to resell them.
6. Lock Up and Put Away Equipment
Put smaller tools and other pieces of equipment away in a shed or another storage facility at the end of every workday. Install a lock on the door and only share the key or code with people you trust not to share it.
For larger items, you’ll need to take additional steps to lock them up or prevent them from being stolen. Lowering blades or buckets is helpful. You can also remove batteries and steering wheels, then lock them in a shed or storage unit.
7. Hire Security Guards
Some thieves aren’t deterred by the presence of cameras or alarm systems. However, they are hesitant about entering a site that has security guards posted around the perimeter.
Hiring certified, professional security guards can give you extra peace of mind when you lock up the site and leave for the day. Security guards are especially beneficial when your site contains a lot of valuable, expensive equipment.
When searching for security guards, do your research to ensure you’re hiring trained professionals who have the necessary skills to keep your site safe. Reach out to a few security companies to find one with experience working on construction sites and a transparent accountability system.
8. Conduct Background Checks
Finally, conduct background checks on everyone you hire to work on your site. Take note of applicants who have previous convictions for theft or similar crimes.
Remember that you don’t have to disqualify any applicant with a misdemeanor or felony charge on their record. A background check is one step in a more comprehensive hiring process.
Plenty of people make mistakes and deserve chances to turn their lives around. However, when you do your due diligence and vet the people you hire, you can better understand who’s working on your construction project.
Start Preventing Construction Site Theft Today
Construction site theft is a serious problem, regardless of the size or scope of your current project. It causes you to lose money, slows down progress, and hurts morale among all employees.
Implementing these eight tips can protect the construction zone, prevent theft, and help you enjoy peace of mind that your site is safe when you’re not present.
Of all the suggestions mentioned in this guide, installing cameras is one of the simplest and most effective steps you can take to prevent construction site theft.
Are you looking for affordable, powerful security cameras? That’s where Mobile Video Guard comes in.
We offer remotely monitored video surveillance to protect your construction site and reduce incidents of theft and vandalism. Contact us today to learn more about our cameras or get a quote.