Safety on construction sites is paramount during the workday, and after hours, security is just as important. By their nature, construction sites have vulnerabilities. They’re open-air; anyone passing by can see what’s lying about. There are a lot of valuable materials and machinery, and not all of them can be stored away for the night. Construction site break-ins are a major headache. They cost money in lost items. They cost time, which can cost even more money. And they can cause insurance rates to skyrocket. Construction site break-ins cost companies hundreds of millions of dollars every year, but there are steps to take that can limit the damage.
Thieves steal as much as $1 billion worth of copper every year, and construction sites are a major target. It’s a valuable material, and when thieves rip out copper wire that’s already been hung in buildings, they also undo a great deal of hard work that has to be made up. The last couple of years has seen huge spikes in lumber prices, contributing to a rash of construction site break-ins since thieves know they can find valuable materials lying around.
Securing these sites is an absolute necessity. Chain up any material you can, and take care not to leave materials sitting out in the open overnight. Keeping detailed inventory records will help track everything. Perimeter fencing is a must, as is adequate lighting that discourages thieves from entering the site in the first place. It’s hard to overestimate just how effective good lighting, motion detection, and well-placed surveillance cameras can be at deterring construction site break-ins. When theft does occur, mobile surveillance systems like those offered by Wireless CCTV can catch people in the act.
Small tools are easily left out at the end of the day. They’re also easy to steal and easy for thieves to sell. That is, unless they have trackers such as barcodes as part of a detailed inventory system that logs every tool, who checked it out, and when. Protocols for returning tools to a secure location at night can keep sites from looking enticing to would-be thieves and make sure the tools are still there when it’s time to get to work the next morning. Power tools might not be as easy to steal as a hammer, but they’re valuable enough and easy enough to sell that they’ll attract thieves if not properly stored overnight. Only about 25% of items stolen from construction sites are recovered, so investing in services like ECAMSECURE’s virtual guard platform and live streaming with two-way audio can yield big savings by scaring off potential robbers.
It’s pretty much impossible not to leave large machinery out overnight, but there are strategies to prevent construction site break-ins and thefts. First, maintain a strict system of access to keys for heavy equipment like excavators during the workday. Those keys must be collected at the end of the day and locked up tight overnight possibly off-site. Taking out batteries and removing steering wheels when the day is done can make it nearly impossible for thieves to get away with heavy machinery. Even with those things locked up tight, thieves might still try to tow heavy machinery away. Parking those machines in a circle every night, with larger machines ringing smaller ones and materials, can prevent that and discourage theft of smaller items. GPS trackers and LoJack systems placed on machines can make it easier to track them down if they are stolen. Construction site break-ins are a fact of life, but they don’t have to be.