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The Real Cost of Construction Site Theft

When you leave big equipment and truckloads of metals out in the open, it’s bound to catch some thieving eyes. In fact, in their 2016 Equipment Theft Report, the National Equipment Register (NER) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) stated that there were 11,574 reported equipment thefts in construction sites and farmlands. Only 21% of the stolen items were recovered.

And, get this: Those thefts combined are costing the U.S. about $300 million to $1 billion every year, with most estimates in the range of $400 million. But this estimate is only for equipment and doesn’t include building materials and tools, which are some of the easiest items to steal.

What items are commonly stolen?

According to the same report, the most common stolen equipment from construction sites are wheeled and tracked loaders, utility vehicles, excavators, forklifts, generators, compressors, and welder. A separate report by the LoJack Corporation states that the most common stolen items are wheeled and tracked loaders.

What states have the highest rate of construction theft?

The NER report also ranked theft by states, showing Texas as the state with the most construction theft (2,375), followed by North Carolina (796). Others are Florida (763), California (694), Georgia (577), South Carolina (512), Tennessee (449), Oklahoma (445), Arkansas (362), and Alabama (338).

Thefts in these top 10 states account for 63% of all burglaries, with the top five accounting for 45% of all robberies. If you’re in these states, you have to double your efforts in keeping your construction site secure.

How to Secure Your Construction Site

Engineers meeting in a construction siteSuch high rates of theft call for more sophisticated security measures such as the following:

1. Use advanced locks. Even teenagers can pick a basic lock, so if you are storing important data and office equipment on site, it’s best to use electronic locking mechanisms that feature code or keycard locks. There are also fingerprint locks that no one else aside from the registered prints can open.

2. Rent or buy camera security trailers. Camera security trailers are highly effective in keeping track of what’s going on in your site. Most camera trailers let you access live and recorded footage using mobile devices via 3G, 4G LTE, and Wi-Fi.

Security systems like these can discourage your workers or outsiders from stealing your tools and equipment. Camera trailers can also document onsite accidents, giving you a solid piece of evidence that can play a significant role in determining what exactly happened.

3. Install alarms. Nothing is more effective in stopping an attempted robbery than a startling alarm. When an alarm goes off, thieves start to panic and tend to flee to safety than continue their crime.

There are also silent alarms designed to contact the authorities directly without letting the intruders know so that you can catch them red-handed.

With the significant impact of construction theft on the bottom line and revenue of construction companies, it’s best to use advanced means to keep your construction sites protected. Although these security measures aren’t foolproof, it’s better than nothing at all.

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