Deterrence and Reporting: Tips for Handling Construction Site Theft

thief holding rope

In a project-based industry where countless resources, time, and labor are invested, construction site theft can lead to devastating repercussions when firms and contractors are caught underprepared. Studies show that theft alone costs the U.S. construction industry up to $1 billion a year in losses. Not even counting the cost of vandalism and other crimes that can occur on jobsites, construction site theft is a lingering problem that not only costs firms precious resources, but also endangers equipment and workers.

To address these risks, builders are increasingly adopting construction tech solutions for securing their jobsites and deterring potential intruders. Construction sites come in all shapes and sizes, but contractors and project managers can look to building a basic security and monitoring kit with the following solutions:

Audiovisual Deterrents

Oftentimes the most effective solution is also the simplest. Construction sites with good lighting and visible alarms are a low priority for potential trespassers who are looking for quick access and an easy getaway. In an interview with TechRadar, security consultant and former burglar Luke Harris provided insight into what goes on in an intruder’s mind when scoping a potential site, “In a burglar’s mind, when they are scoping out a property, they want to be in and out as quickly as they can, with as little chance of getting caught as possible. This means that any visual or physical deterrent – whether it be outdoor lighting, a security camera, or a visible alarm – can put them off.”

At TrueLook, we provide features like Jobsite Surveillance to equip contractors with effective deterrents and monitoring technology. Strobes and Sirens are a construction camera accessory that deploys bright, flashing lights and booming sirens to inform intruders that a camera is recording and that they have been spotted.

Construction Cameras

Construction site monitoring is a multifaceted solution with a range of benefits, from security to marketing. The presence of security cameras is a simple but effective deterrence. In his interview with TechRadar, Harris also shed light on how visible monitoring stops potential intruders in their tracks, “[T]hey not only know that the property is well protected, but also that there is a chance that their face is being recorded and passed on to the police.” 

As construction sites come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important for contractors to find the right camera for each project. For example, TrueLook users have access to a range of construction cameras with different functions tailor-fit to their firm’s needs. Fixed-position cameras are a versatile solution for capturing a static, wide-angle picture of jobsites, while pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras provide 360° views, true optical zooming capabilities, and robotic movement to ensure no corner is left uncovered. 

The Reality of Construction Site Theft

Even with all of the security and monitoring solutions available, the unfortunate reality is that no one can fully control security risks and their outcomes. The best strategy for securing jobsites is to remain proactive, but in the event of a security breach, it’s just as critical to have the proper technology and processes for documentation and reporting. 

Theft and vandalism on construction sites are responsible for substantial financial losses, often ranging from thousands to millions of dollars per incident. These losses encompass stolen equipment, materials, tools, and machinery, not to mention the additional costs incurred due to project delays, increased insurance premiums, and the necessary re-securing of the site. 

To mitigate the risk of theft and vandalism, prevention and deterrence are important pieces of the puzzle, but contractors also need proper documentation and reporting to fully protect their investments, teams, and firm. 

As we mentioned above, construction cameras serve a dual purpose: deterring potential thieves through their presence and capturing evidence in the unfortunate event of an incident.

Strategically placing construction cameras to cover critical areas vulnerable to unauthorized access acts as a strong deterrent while also documenting any potential incidents. Moreover, cameras equipped with advanced features such as motion detection, night vision, and real-time monitoring capabilities ensure that any suspicious activity is promptly detected and reported, allowing for swift action to be taken.

Construction Cameras for Documentation and Compliance

The significance of construction cameras goes beyond deterrence. In the event of a theft or vandalism incident, construction cameras play a pivotal role in documenting and reporting. High-definition video footage and images serve as invaluable evidence for both insurance claims and legal proceedings. Visual documentation eliminates ambiguity and provides concrete proof of the incident, bolstering the builder’s case when seeking compensation or pursuing legal action.

Construction cameras are critical for compliance with insurance requirements, as many insurance policies mandate the implementation of security measures. The presence of cameras demonstrates a proactive approach to site security, potentially leading to more favorable insurance terms and coverage rates. In the event of a security breach, documented evidence assists insurance companies in expediting the claims process, reducing time and stress for builders and their teams.

Navigating the Aftermath: A Tale of Two Scenarios

Even with proactive measures and solutions, there is no sure way of controlling potential intruders’ actions – contractors can only fully control how they prepare for and react to security breaches. Equipping your firm with jobsite monitoring and a security kit is the most effective way to both deter crime and document incidents. 

In the unfortunate event of construction site theft or criminal activity beyond anyone’s control, here are two scenarios that compare the documentation and reporting process, with and without jobsite monitoring:

Scenario 1: Without Construction Cameras

Discovery of Incident: The theft or vandalism is discovered, but no immediate evidence is available to identify the culprits or provide insights into the incident’s details.

Limited Action: Without visual documentation, the builder’s ability to pursue legal action or insurance claims becomes challenging. The lack of evidence may result in prolonged investigations and complications.

Uncertain Insurance Process: The absence of documented evidence hampers the insurance claims process, leading to delays and potential disputes over compensation.

Recurring Vulnerability: The lack of effective deterrence measures henders the site,  making it susceptible to further incidents, leading to a recurring cycle of both losses and debilitating setbacks.

Without construction cameras, not only do jobsites indicate an easier target for theft and vandalism, but they are also left more vulnerable in the aftermath. Managers are left without photographic or video evidence, making it all the more challenging to understand the extent of damage and to submit documentation for insurance. Limited action can be taken, leading to prolonged investigations and insurance claim complications. This also leaves jobsites vulnerable to further incidents, resulting in recurring losses and setbacks.

Scenario 2: With Construction Cameras

Detection and Notification: Construction cameras with Intelligent Security promptly detect the unauthorized entry of individuals onto the site and send real-time notifications to the designated personnel.

Immediate Response: Security personnel or project managers receive the alert and immediately assess the situation through the live camera feed. Law enforcement can also be contacted, armed with accurate information about the ongoing incident.

Evidence Collection: Video footage and imagery from the construction cameras provide clear evidence of the theft or vandalism, showcasing the individuals involved, their actions, and the extent of the damage or losses.

Insurance Claim and Compliance: The documented evidence is shared with the insurance company, expediting the claims process. The presence of construction cameras demonstrates compliance with security measures, potentially leading to smoother negotiations with the insurance provider.

With updated features like Intelligent Security, construction cameras swiftly detect unauthorized entries, notifying personnel in real-time. This immediate response enables project managers to assess the situation and inform law enforcement accurately. In the event of a security breach, photo or video evidence expedites insurance claims and showcases compliance with security measures, potentially simplifying negotiations with insurers. 

As we’ve shown in the above scenarios, nothing should be left to chance. Construction cameras ensure that each jobsite is secure, while trespassers are forced to reconsider their target. While we can’t control others’ actions or potential risks, project managers can ensure the best possible outcome by investing in proactive security measures and technology. 

Investing in Proactive Measures and Documentation Solutions

Securing a construction site is a formidable challenge, given the persistent threat of theft and vandalism with no way of controlling outcomes. While there are plenty of available methods of prevention and deterrence, construction cameras emerge as a powerful solution that not only deters criminal activity, but also documents incidents, ensuring compliance for insurance purposes and more.

The aftermath of construction site theft can be fraught with complications, but the presence of construction cameras provides builders with a tangible advantage in navigating the aftermath smoothly. By investing in jobsite monitoring, construction firm owners, project managers, and contractors fortify their sites against threats and bolster their ability to recover swiftly in the unfortunate event of theft or vandalism. If you’re looking to elevate your jobsite security but are unsure of where to start, check out our webinar on Reducing Jobsite Theft for a guide on the latest security measures and technology.

Jobsite Security and Monitoring Solutions with TrueLook

At TrueLook, we prioritize security and safety on construction sites, and we’re constantly developing new features and solutions to ensure our partners have the best technology to protect their teams and projects. Take the first step in equipping your construction firm with the latest in jobsite monitoring and contact our team for a free construction camera demo!

Matt Rogers, Jobsite Surveillance Manager headhsot

Matt Rogers, Jobsite Surveillance Manager

Matt is an experienced professional dedicated to leveraging SaaS-based solutions to enhance safety, security, and efficiency in the construction industry while collaborating closely with clients. Matt's diverse skill set, background in IT, and expertise in various network appliances make him a valuable asset in optimizing job site surveillance for TrueLook's clients. Outside of work, you can find Matt tinkering with electronic devices, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his wife and dogs.

See All Posts