Employing Technology to Reduce the Rate of Job Site Theft

a surveillance camera

Construction companies should consider protecting their easily transportable, high-value equipment by maximizing innovations in technology and improving their risk management strategies. For instance, Camera Security Trailers has surveillance systems that can help detect, verify, dispatch authorities, and deter future incidences of job site theft.

Job site thieves look for the quickest way into and out of a job site without being noticed. Companies that leave themselves vulnerable are at risk for tool and equipment theft. Security in the job site is especially important because equipment and machinery usually stay in areas that have little or no physical security or deterrents.

Statistics on Job Site Theft

The National Equipment Registry’s Equipment Theft Report estimates that the total value of stolen equipment in 2016 was about $300 million. This number does not include indirect costs that cause business interruptions and wasted workforce and management time.

The report also found that theft is driven by the mobility and value of equipment and that law enforcement is generally only able to recover about 20% of stolen equipment. Additionally, job site theft occurred more frequently over peak construction periods than other times. Recent equipment was more likely to be stolen than those produced over ten years ago.

Theft in the construction industry involves heavy equipment losses and smaller tools stolen from job sites and resold at deep discounts on websites like Craigslist. In the past, the construction industry had to rely on perimeters fenced with barbed wires, night watchmen, and guard dogs to discourage theft and unauthorized access to job sites. Construction professionals today have access to better technology to find and deter theft.

Improving Security through Technology

Technology can improve job site security through surveillance systems, restricted access systems, and equipment tracking devices. These can come with the ability to control devices over wireless and mesh networks.

Surveillance cameras can track ingress and egress to job sites in real time. Construction companies can also give workers a wearable photo ID with a badging system. This will determine the employees and the times they are entering or exiting a given area. Limiting access improves job site safety and eliminates the ability for people to casually wander into and out of the job site. Surveillance systems may provide real-time facial recognition even in poor lighting conditions. Video can serve as evidence should a theft occur.

There are also job site motion-sensing platforms that can automatically send reports to project supervisors and managers whenever a disturbance is detected. The greatest deterrent for thieves is often simply the knowledge that the company is employing surveillance systems.

Theft of Heavy Equipment

Construction companies can suffer large losses with the theft of heavy equipment, as these can be harder to recover. The design of heavy equipment often emphasizes productivity over security. Heavy equipment includes tractors, loaders, mowers, and backhoes. Companies can protect themselves against these types of theft by geo-fencing each piece of equipment. This tag triggers managers, so they know when equipment is being used when unauthorized.

Effective job site security helps construction companies protect against tool and equipment theft through prevention, detection, and recovery. Improvements in technology allow managers to detect both proper and improper usage and access in real-time.