Between $300 million and $1 billion. That is how much money construction companies lose each year due to jobsite theft. You have probably seen this figure quoted many times – it actually comes from research done by the National Insurance Crime Bureau back in 2008. LoJack actually reconfirmed this amount in a new study in 2012.
Replacing equipment and dealing with construction downtime is costly and aggravating. But you already know that construction sites can be attractive targets for thieves. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate theft, there are many steps you can take to deter would-be thieves and to recover stolen property. Here’s a list of tips I’ve picked up while working with jobsite cameras:
Stopping Thieves When Your Site Is Unattended
- Lighting, lighting, lighting. Make sure your site is well lit at all times – this will obviously discourage many trespassers.
- Use physical obstructions. At the end of each workday, position your most valued property so it is difficult to steal. Lift it out of reach, block it in with heavy vehicles, tie it down, or do whatever you can to make life difficult for thieves. Putting up a perimeter fence is a good start, but assume a determined thief will get past it.
- Install jobsite cameras. Even a dummy camera is better than nothing, and coupled with lighting and signage can be especially effective. Make it clear to thieves that they risk getting caught on your property.
- Use an alarm system. Loud noises will scare away most thieves, and can bring the police sooner.
- Post security guards. Maybe not the cheapest option, but worth considering if you have valuable equipment and deadlines you need to protect.
Discouraging Sticky Fingers
- Keep a clean, organized jobsite. Tools are easier to steal when sites get messy. Not only that, but workers are more likely to steal if you are showing disregard for your own equipment.
- Have clear policies. Make your expectations known and show that you take security seriously.
- Keep up-to-date inventory. You will quickly become aware when things go missing, and your workers will know it.
- Be present. Monitor your site. Show up unexpectedly from time to time.
- Again, keep up-to-date inventory. You will be able to report missing equipment faster, show police exactly what is missing, and more quickly claim anything that is found.
- Mark your equipment with identification in a hard to find location. Brand your cattle.
- Install LoJack or another GPS system on heavy equipment.
Did I forget something? Let me know in the comments! I will gladly add your ideas.