Prevent construction site theft during longer winter nights

With nights becoming longer the threat of construction theft is increasing. Most companies are putting too much faith in outdated security strategies, while crime rates continue to surge during the darker months of the year. Here are five comprehensive tips for making your construction job sites and your business more secure.

Marie Lislott
digger excavator in the dark with stars behind

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, organisations of all kinds have faced challenging times – the construction industry included. Like other sectors, the industry has had to navigate lockdowns, new restrictions, supply chain challenges, government regulations, increased prices and project interruptions. 

However, these aren’t the only factors that have made business difficult. As many as 78% of tradespeople found their tools stolen, and only 1% of them were able to recover their assets. As winter approaches and nights become darker, the danger of unattended and unlit construction sites leaves companies vulnerable to theft. 

So, what’s the resolution?

There is often a need to review current security strategies to ensure that they are fit for the purpose to protect the business. Failure to have updated security strategies, and consequently suffering theft of key assets, is very costly in terms of its financial and reputational impact. That’s not just about the cost of replacing stolen items. It’s what happens when projects are delayed, abandoned, or disrupted when theft causes project downtime while construction companies wait for replacement parts to come in. 

Five site theft prevention tips

The good news is that construction managers and business owners can prevent theft, vandalism, and other damage to their property, projects, and assets. They can even take steps to recover stolen assets. Here are 5 simple and effective ways to make your construction business more secure today and in the future.

  1. Keep your assets in a secure location and keep the number of assets kept on site to a minimum. While for ease, convenience and cost reasons, some materials and equipment must stay on a construction site, there is no need to store everything but essential assets on site whenever it is possible. Less inventory means fewer targets for thieves. 

  2. Know where your assets are by adding a tracker on all valuable assets. Trackers come in all sizes - wired and non-wired. Have a wired GPS tracker on your machinery and vans, and remember to use Bluetooth trackers on your handheld and non-powered assets like power drills and machinery attachments. 

  3. Put in place a geofence: check if all assets are secured in vans or storage containers at the end of each day. You can also add a digital fence, called a geofence, which will notify workers and managers when assets are on their way out of your predefined area.

  4. Light up your construction or project site at night. When the lights are off, thieves and other criminals can operate under the cover of darkness, making it harder to notice them – especially during winter. The times lighting is switched on and off can be controlled by using timers to control when the lights operate, saving electricity and reducing costs. A tip is to use Solar-powered lights for more remote areas.

  5. Only permit authorised personnel onsite. Monitor and control who enters the site. A project can involve multiple construction companies, other tradespeople, managers, and consultants. Knowing who’s onsite enables better tracking of personnel and valuable assets. You may even prevent a thief from entering the site on their mission to steal anything from tools to machinery. 

Many of our customers got their assets back with trackers

Hitachi Construction Machinery UK and ABAX have worked in partnership to recover a mutual customer's ZX33U-6 machine that was reported as stolen. 

The ABAX tracking, which McCann's Construction says is easy and simple to install and use, really came into its own in the recovery of one piece of expensive machinery. A £50,000 excavator was returned to the company after the team was alerted that a vehicle had gone missing. It was tracked through live updates, located and recovered by the Police and returned.

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Barford Van Hire recently found out the importance of a GPS tracking system when they had one of their Mercedes Sprinter Lutons stolen during the night in Norwich. Thanks to the ABAX GPS tracker installed, they were able to quickly recover the vehicle 150 miles away in Kent.

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If machines go outside the Geofence boundary, JK Construction in North Wales are immediately notified by text and e-mail, which means that this can be quickly acted upon, giving the team peace of mind about the security of all assets.

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 Construction crime is still on the rise. By putting these quick and easy security tips into action it can be stopped in its tracks. Tools, machinery and more broadly asset tracking can deter criminals and keep your site, your project, and your business safe. They may even help you improve operations in the process.

Sources:  On the tools: https://www.onthetools.tv/home/tradespeople-against-tool-theft-whitepaper/

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