Why Construction Site Theft is Common and What You Can Do About It

Thieves will target construction sites for various reasons and cause costly losses in terms of missing materials or equipment. The good news is your company can take some steps to prevent this from happening.

Key takeaways:

  • Construction site theft is common because valuable equipment is left unattended
  • Thieves will steal small tools and heavy-duty equipment to resell them
  • There are some steps you can take to secure your job site and prevent theft

People are always coming and going from construction sites, and that creates the perfect environment for things to go missing. Dozens of employees, contractors, delivery drivers, and inspectors are entering the site on any given day, after all, and your tools, equipment, and materials are sitting unattended for much of the time. 

Construction sites are common targets for thieves because their equipment and materials are extremely valuable and often sit in an unsecured location for hours. Here’s a look at some items thieves will commonly target on job sites, plus information on what you can do to prevent your company from becoming a victim.

What thieves are stealing

It’s a good idea to look at what thieves commonly take from construction sites so you’ll have a better idea of what you should protect. The list is unfortunately lengthy, as there isn’t much these individuals will leave behind when given a chance:

  • Handheld tools – Perhaps the most common items to go missing are handheld tools because they’re small enough to conceal and leave the premises without detection. You’re also unlikely to notice a few handheld tools are missing right away. 
  • Large equipment – While more challenging to take, thieves will steal large equipment like bulldozers, trucks, and tractors from a job site when possible. The people who take such items have sophisticated methods and plans to do so, so you must maintain awareness at all times.
  • Lumber – Lumber prices are through the roof, making wood common for thieves to take from the job site. Employees are sometimes responsible for these thefts because they know it is an expensive commodity.
  • Metal – Finally, metal has significant resale value, so if you have any copper or aluminum around the site, there’s a chance thieves will take it. 

Pretty much everything around your construction site is at risk, making it essential that you have a plan to reduce theft and hold the people who take things from your job sites accountable.

5 ways to prevent construction site theft

Now that you know why thieves target construction sites and what they’re taking, it’s time to develop a strategy for minimizing your losses. The less theft your job site experiences, the easier it is to complete your projects on time and keep your customers happy.

1) Lock things up

Ensuring your employees lock everything up at the end of the day makes your job site less of a target. You might consider putting temporary fencing up around the area, making it more challenging to remove large equipment. Bringing portable storage units to the construction site provides a spot to store your tools and valuable items like copper and lumber without having to remove them from the job location every night.

2) Track your assets

Managing inventory is an essential part of any construction site security plan because it allows you to keep an eye on what you have, what you need, and what your team is using on the job. You can also register all your tools and equipment so there’s a record of everything that should be there. Implementing a check-out program for equipment and tools will make it less likely that an employee will walk off with something you’ve purchased, as well.

3) Conduct background checks

You might not want to believe that your employees are stealing from you, but it does happen and is something to keep in the back of your mind. Background checks aren’t foolproof, but they allow you to see if any employees on your team have a history of theft so you can maintain a closer watch. Advertising that your company conducts background checks might even prevent those with a criminal history from even applying, because they know there will be scrutiny and theft-reduction plans in place on the job site.

4) Cut fuel supplies

A tip for dealing with heavy equipment: Cutting the fuel supplies or disabling circuit breakers can prevent thieves from stealing these items in the middle of the night. This equipment is incredibly challenging to move, and it becomes impossible without power. A fuel pump kill switch is a simple item to install and will ensure any heavy equipment you have to leave on the construction site is safe from theft.

5) Have a surveillance system

Installing an on-site surveillance system is perhaps the most effective way to deter theft at your construction sites, particularly if you go with video surveillance. These systems are monitored by a remote, armed security guard throughout the night, ensuring no one can enter the site undetected and get away with your equipment. You can put up signs, too, acting as a deterrent as a potential thief approaches. A video surveillance system is designed specifically for each construction site, so you’ll have cameras in the optimal locations to protect your tools and equipment.

Get the security help you need

Construction site theft is common, but you can minimize your chances of becoming a victim by taking the necessary steps to protect your job site. Failing to secure your job site is problematic for multiple reasons. First, you’ll likely have to purchase new equipment while waiting for your insurance company to investigate the situation. Then, you’ll also lose time because your employees can’t work when the necessary tools aren’t available on the site. Developing a security plan is advisable to prevent this situation.

Mobile Video Guard offers personalized video surveillance solutions for your construction site. Our team will install your cameras in strategic positions and then have a security guard monitor the feed at night, meaning we can alert the authorities immediately if we see an emergency arise. 

Contact Mobile Video Guard today to ask about a quote.

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