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How to Combat Construction Site Theft in the Face of Rising Building Costs

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    Construction Site Materials Theft Prevention

    From expensive tools and equipment to building supplies, construction sites are filled with valuable items that make theft a common problem. These losses are not only expensive in terms of the lost materials and construction equipment, but also by the interruption to the work day with the time it takes to replace those stolen goods — and materials costs are on the rise.

    Preventing construction site theft is more important than ever. Around-the-clock monitoring offers security and peace of mind long after your workers have gone home for the day, and taking the right security measures to protect your investment can put a stop to construction site theft.

    What Thieves Are Looking For

    Dark, quiet job sites are easy targets for opportunistic thieves. They are also typically not well-protected, either because of a lack of foresight or because a budget-conscious supervisor is trying to save money by not erecting a fence, hiring a guard, or installing a security system. 

    Construction projects offer a wide range of valuable goods that a thief can easily use or sell, though, including:

    • Wood
    • Copper
    • Rock and gravel
    • Tools
    • Heavy equipment
    • Appliances (like ovens and refrigerators on residential construction sites)
    • And more

    Materials and equipment theft aren’t the only threat to construction companies, either. Vandalism is costly as well, as vandals may spray paint your equipment or the project itself, destroy glass, or even have a party and leave their trash behind. A good security system can serve as a deterrent to both construction site theft and vandalism, and make it easier to file police reports and catch any guilty parties.

    Options for Construction Site Theft Prevention

    Depending upon your needs, interests, and budget, your security system may include high-tech solutions like security cameras and low-tech ones like fencing, good lighting, or security guards.

    While some construction site theft is the result of a planned operation — with thieves casing your site for days or weeks before pulling off the robbery — others are crimes of opportunity. The thieves may be people who happen upon an unsecured site and decide to take advantage by swiping a few easy-to-carry but high-priced items. 

    In those situations, simple deterrents can go a long way:

    • Hide your tools.
      It’s a good idea to avoid leaving tools and materials lying around. Put them away at the end of each day and, if possible, lock them up.
    • Make it difficult to enter the site.
      Fence your work area and top that fence with razor wire or cover the outside with a material that makes it hard or impossible to see through.
    • Use lighting.
      Light the area to make it hard for an intruder to hide. Motion sensor lights are useful, too, as the sudden brightness can alarm and scare off a would-be thief.
    • Track what you can.
      Keep good records of your deliveries so you know exactly which equipment and materials are on-site at all times. It’s also a good practice to keep tabs on subcontractors who may be coming and going frequently.
    • Staff personnel to watch your site.
      Having managers or supervisors available on the job as often as possible also helps deter any construction site theft by employees, which can also be costly. 

    Of course, there will always be times when your site is unattended. That’s where surveillance cameras can play a big role in keeping your construction business functioning. 

    How Mobile Surveillance Works

    mounted security camera on tile

    Installing a mobile surveillance system is simple and effective. Here are a few tips on the process, including information on how to get started:

    1. Consult a Construction Site Theft Professional

    The professionals will ask you about your construction site and what you’re hoping to prevent by installing surveillance cameras. That may include employee theft, vandalism, trespassing, and more. They’ll visit and get to know the job site to ensure security coverage of the entire area. 

    2. Install the Security System

    How many security cameras you need will depend upon the size of your job site and the materials you’re hoping to protect. The security expert will take care of all the planning, wiring, and installation to make sure you have a system created specifically for your site and needs.

    3. Get Around-the-Clock Surveillance

    You need someone to monitor your CCTV to ensure your job site remains untouched. You can hire someone internally for this task or outsource it. Either way, you’ll want the monitoring team to know how many people are expected at your job site and when, and they need to watch for signs of unlawful entry. 

    Should your security team see construction site theft, vandalism, or other suspicious behavior, they can immediately contact law enforcement — and you. You’ll also want to make sure you can review security footage for a couple of weeks after an event.

    Mobile Surveillance for Job Site Crime Prevention and Financial Savings

    construction site theft professional installing mobile security camera

    Contracting with a 24-hour mobile surveillance team ultimately benefits your bottom line, whether you want to buy or rent security equipment. Your system is an investment that could save you thousands in lost materials and delays, something that is especially important as construction material costs are on the rise. Here are a few more facts to keep in mind:

    • Production can slow to a stop if you’re clearing debris, rebuilding broken structures, or waiting on replacement parts and materials. 
    • You may also save money on insurance premiums, as your insurance company recognizes the decreased risk of loss associated with having a security system. 
    • The cameras serve an added benefit of keeping watch over your employees during work hours, which deters employee theft. 
    • The footage can serve as evidence in a workers’ compensation case. 
    • You may also catch safety violations on camera that you can correct before they lead to OSHA fines or, worse, an accident and injury. 

    What about hiring a security guard? You could, but it ends up being more expensive in the long run — and these brave men and women are great at their jobs, but they simply can’t be everywhere at once. They may be on the job and totally miss the criminal activity because they were in a different area. After weeks of no activity, it’s also easy for them to grow complacent.

    security watching construction site on monitor

    Custom Construction Site Security Solutions

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every construction site, but surveillance cameras have their place in nearly all of them. Whether you need one camera or dozens, we’ve got the expertise to both install and monitor them to help your business protect its assets. If you’re ready to start combating construction site theft, Contact Mobile Video Guard today to speak with an expert about construction site security and how we can help.


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