According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Equipment Register, construction site theft — costs companies between $300 million and $1 billion annually. Construction materials are more expensive than ever, meaning it’s even more imperative that you protect your construction sites from theft.
If you’re unsure where to start, this guide is for you. It outlines specific, actionable steps you can take today to remove the risk of construction site theft and protect your business.
Most Common Construction Site Thefts
Anything can go missing from a construction site. However, the following are some of the most common thefts you and your team might experience:
The Department of Energy states that over $1 billion of copper get stolen each year, and the majority of these thefts occur on construction sites. Thieves typically know exactly where to find copper and are drawn to it because they can easily resell it and turn a profit.
Lumber is another item that’s easy to find, easy to transport, and easy to sell — the trifecta for construction site thieves. Lumber is in exceptionally high demand right now, contributing to rising prices and the motivation to steal it.
Small tools like hammers and saws are all over construction sites. Because they’re easy to transport and resell, thieves often pick them up and carry them away when ransacking a site.
Power tool theft is also rising, from electric tools to sanders. Power tools are being stolen from hardware stores, private residences, and construction sites across the country. They’ve even overtaken other commonly stolen items like jewelry, liquor, and electronics.
For obvious reasons, heavy machinery like earth movers and excavators are not stolen as frequently as other, smaller items.
However, some particularly motivated thieves are still willing to take the risk of removing heavy machinery from construction sites in exchange for the high reward they get from reselling them.
How to Remove the Threat of Construction Site Theft
From copper pipes to backhoes, you need to keep your construction equipment and materials safe when you leave the site for the day. Here are some tips to help you protect your business and remove the threat of construction site theft:
Installing cameras is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of construction site theft occurring. Security cameras allow you to capture footage of your site, providing you with evidence to hand over to law enforcement.
The mere presence of cameras can also deter thieves from victimizing your job site. If someone knows cameras are recording, they’ll be less likely to break in and risk getting caught.
Set Up Fencing and Lights
Along with cameras, you can also further secure your construction site by setting up fencing around the perimeter and installing lights that automatically turn on when it gets dark outside.
These measures create an obvious obstacle between potential thieves and your construction site and deter crimes of opportunity. Lights also enhance your security cameras’ effectiveness by increasing intruders’ visibility.
Add No Trespassing Signs
At first, you might scoff at the idea of a “no trespassing” or “private property” sign deterring thieves. When you add these signs to your fence, though, you can potentially elevate the severity of theft from a misdemeanor to a more serious felony crime.
Create and Implement a Threat Prevention Policy
Thieves don’t just enter and steal from construction sites at night. Your employees and subcontractors could also steal from you. Establish and implement a zero-tolerance policy to reduce the risk of theft from those who work on your job site. Let everyone who works for you know that you will seek prosecution if they’re caught stealing. remote construction site security cameras
You can further reduce the risk of construction site theft by securing equipment when you leave for the day. Some easy ways to do this include removing batteries and wheels, lowering blades, and installing locks to immobilize equipment controls.
If you make it harder for thieves to remove equipment from your site, they’ll be less likely to follow through. security camera systems for construction sites
Some people also mark their construction equipment to make it easier to locate and recover if thieves try to resell it. You can do this by adding a traceable number — like a driver’s license number — in both an obvious and hidden location. You can also weld the company’s name on the equipment’s surface.
Take things a step further by registering your equipment with a company like the National Equipment Register or the Heavy Equipment Registration. Registration ensures you’re not alone if you are a victim of theft. It also helps you aid law enforcement in recovering and returning your equipment.
Use GPS Technology
GPS technology can help you track your equipment if it’s removed from the job site. When you install these tools, you can monitor equipment’s location and help law enforcement officers find it faster. security camera systems for construction sites
Keep Detailed Records
The sooner you report an item missing, the easier it’ll be to recover it. If you don’t notice something’s gone until weeks or months after it was stolen, you might be out of luck. To avoid running into this issue, you should keep detailed records of the equipment on your site. Note each piece’s make, model, and serial number or PIN, and include photos to make it easier to find.
Store Materials Indoors
Store materials like hand tools, lumber, concrete, and chemicals indoors when you can. Not only will this make it harder for thieves to access them, but it’ll also protect them from weather-related damage.
Protect Against Theft on Construction Sites Today
You and your team work hard, and you can’t afford to lose valuable materials from your construction site. Implementing the strategies discussed above will help you remove the threat of construction site theft and avoid crime-related productivity interruptions.
Of all the tips in this guide, a great starting point is installing video surveillance cameras.