In the construction industry, job site theft is a serious problem. High-value equipment and materials combined with unsecured locations are tempting to thieves. This is especially true if the job site is in a remote location. The National Equipment Register estimates the cost of equipment theft each year falls between $300 million and $1 billion. And companies that have equipment stolen only recover it around 22 percent of the time, so these losses are usually permanent. In addition to monetary loss, stolen equipment causes your project to come to a screeching halt. You can’t work without your gear, and this sets you behind on your deadlines. So, how do you protect against construction job site theft?
It helps to remember job site theft is a “theft of opportunity.” Thieves look for opportunities that are easy and fast. Make the opportunity less enticing, and you’ll reduce the risk. These five tips will help you protect your job site.
1. Install quality temporary fencing
A barrier between your job site and the rest of the community is your first line of defense. The right temporary fencing creates a barrier that makes it nearly impossible to remove large equipment from the job site. Choose options like barbed wire or a pounded post chain link fence. These deterrents make it harder to move the fencing. When a potential thief sees fencing in place, he already thinks twice about entering the job site and will move on to an easier target.
2. Use lockable construction storage containers
A fence is a first line of defense, but you can do more to make your job site secure. Add lockable, weatherproof construction storage containers for additional security. Insist all tools and valuable materials are stored inside at the end of the day. You can also store large equipment and electronics inside. Doing so protects your equipment and materials from theft and from the elements. Should a thief get across your fence, or a rainstorm hits during your downtime, your most critical items are still safe.
3. Keep it lit
Hiding under the cover of darkness is important to thieves. Keep your space well-lit to deter potential crime. Security lighting that stays on all night is helpful in keeping your space protected, but that can be expensive and not energy efficient. To save on energy, use motion detector lights that only turn on when someone approaches. Also make sure the lighting illuminates the entire job site, or at least any areas where equipment and materials are stored. Eliminate as many shadowy areas as possible, and thieves will go looking for a less-lit target.
4. Set an alarm
Job site theft risk drops significantly when you install an alarm system. If a thief enters your construction job site and hears an alarm, he will run. Alarms also alert those around your job site to the theft, so help can get to the site more quickly. Alarm systems may have flashing lights and other deterrents as well as audio alarms. With most systems, you can set mobile alerts to keep you in the loop when problems happen.
5. Invest in surveillance
Visible surveillance cameras make thieves think twice about entering your job site. They also provide photo and video evidence of any thieves who do steal from you. This increases the chance you will recover your property. It’s not enough to just buy a dummy camera, although that’s an option. Installing a full video surveillance system is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a major job site theft.
And one bonus tip: If you know your job site is going to house a lot of expensive equipment and materials, consider investing in a security company. Nothing quite beats a human security guard patrolling the area. On-site security prevents theft, and it also helps prevent illegal dumping and other illicit activities on the property.
Securing a job site against theft requires some thought and action, but it’s a job worth doing. ZTERS offers construction fencing and storage container rentals, and we can help you decide on the right products and services to help protect your job site. We’ve been providing construction site services to companies for more than a decade, and we work with thousands of vendors nationwide. Give us a call to find out how we can help.