Construction Site Crime: What You Can Do About It

Posted on Sep 12 2016 - 5:41pm by Editor

If you’re about to set up a new construction site, then security may be the last thing on your mind. After all, you never hear about theft and vandalism on construction sites on the news, right? There’s a reason for this; construction site theft has now become so commonplace that journalists don’t waste their time on it. If theft is a big enough issue on your site, then the cost in downtime can extremely damaging. To reduce the chances of this happening, read these great tips on construction site security.

construction site

As with a lot of security matters, preventing any crimes on your construction site should start with a thorough risk assessment. Before you start work on the project, doing some site analysis can really minimize the chances of your site becoming a target. One commonly overlooked factor is controversy. These days, there are a lot of construction projects which are opposed by environmental pressure groups and communities in general. If you know the site is the subject of controversy, then budgeting for tighter security measures can save you a small fortune in the long run. You should also do some research into the history of crime in the local area. Talk to the local police and other people in the business to get an idea of the risk you’re running by starting construction in the specific area.

Even if there’s no controversy surrounding your site and it’s in a fairly safe area, it’s also a good idea to install certain deterrents. Most thieves who go after construction materials are opportunistic, and rarely stake out a construction site in advance. Security lighting is always a good feature to have. If a thief approaches your project and it’s immediately flooded with light, it can be more than enough to send them packing. Dampened, orange or yellow lighting may save you money, but it’s best to use powerful white lights. It makes color differentiation much easier, so if there is a crime witnesses will be more likely to give an accurate description. This same contrast also makes license plates much easier to read. Buying some high-quality construction site cameras is also a good idea. It’s better that these act as a deterrent than for actually gathering evidence of a crime, so make sure they’re visible to anyone passing the site. Remember that these measures can be made completely useless if thieves are able to locate the power source and cut it off. Make sure all your important power lines are kept at a height of around 24 feet to prevent this.

Your next step should be writing up a pre-job checklist with security in mind. Like many other construction sites, yours is probably dealing with high quantities of materials. If people aren’t keeping close tabs on these figures, you can be at risk of not even knowing you had a theft until months after it happened! Other important measures can also be neglected in the absence of an explicit pre-job checklist. Before drawing this up, you need to establish who’s going to be held accountable if there are any preventable security breaches. You’ve got all kinds of other things to worry about aside from site security, so having someone in charge of it can be very helpful. You should also create a loss reduction plan. Even the most secure project sites get broken into from time to time. If and when you do experience a loss, the worst thing you can do is delay. Get a good inventory management system, ID badges and uniforms for all of your staff, and a mandatory sign-in procedure for absolutely anyone entering your site. You should also gather some contacts at your local police department who deal with industrial theft.

Finally, get your foreman into the habit of asking certain security questions to people on the site during the day. It’s true that most crimes targeting construction sites happen at night. However, this isn’t set in stone, and overlooking your daytime security can cost you dearly. When the site gets busy, it can be easy enough for “visitors” to slip in undetected. It’s easy enough to blend in and steal all kinds of valuable materials, so make sure your foreman is grilling anyone they don’t recognize. Which sub-contractor does the person work for? What are they doing for that subcontractor? When did you and this sub-contractor start work on this site? It’s pretty rare that you’ll find anyone trying to sneak onto an ongoing project. However, if the answers to any of these questions don’t add up, it should be cause for suspicion.