Tracing Stolen Construction Site Equipment

Depending on the level of security invested in a construction site, tools and equipment may be left out in the open, tempting thieves to take what isn’t theirs. And since construction assets aren’t required to be regulated and tracked via a national database or registry like automobiles are, tracking down stolen goods can prove tricky. Add in the fact that thefts of this nature can lead to a host of problems including filing police reports and insurance claims, significant project delays, increased insurance premiums, and the hassle of having to replace the stolen items, and it’s clear to see why tightening security at a site is crucial in preventing equipment loss.

But in the event that your site does fall victim to thieves, fret not. While the National Equipment Register estimates that the US sees an annual loss of $300 million to $1 billion per year, Millennium Security Services estimates that 25% of stolen equipment is recovered, meaning there is hope for sites whose security has been breached. 

When considering tracing stolen equipment – or proactively equipping your assets with some sort of tracing mechanism – three solutions are key:



By creating an inventory of the tools and equipment you have on site, you can handily keep track of all assets in one file. Whether this file is created in a spreadsheet, a notebook, or any other medium that suits your fancy, the goal is to have an easily accessible document that can be consulted and updated as needed. Helpful additions to your inventory are photos of assets and notes on any unique natural or purposeful markings that may appear on equipment (since one-of-a-kind markings can deter thieves from stealing items, knowing that these markings make an item harder to sell without suspicion).



While registering your heavy equipment is not mandatory, it is an effective option in safeguarding it against theft, as well as in tracking down items in the event that equipment does go missing. The National Equipment Register exists to deter construction site theft while allowing equipment owners the ability to track down stolen goods with GPS tracking systems and equipment tracking databases. The Register also provides owners with the ability to report thefts on protected equipment and to run background history reports on machines, which can suss out any past incidents of theft associated with a machine.


Forensic marking

While registration may work wonders for larger items found at a construction site, forensic marking is better suited for smaller equipment and tools. By purchasing a forensic marking kit, you can mark valuable items on your site with a complex and unique array of microdots and UV tracers that combine to create an indelible tracking mark that is effective yet invisible to the eye. As a bonus, advertising that your site uses forensic markings by displaying forensic marking warning labels will deter thieves because they will know that with this technology on your side, reselling these items will be nearly impossible.

With these solutions on your side, you can rest easy knowing that your construction assets are safe –  and, in a worst-case scenario where your equipment has been stolen, your goods can be tracked down.

Brent Canfield Owner of SentryPODS Surveillance Cameras

Brent Canfield

CEO and Creator of SentryPODS

Brent Canfield, CEO, and founder of Smart Digital and SentryPODS, founded Smart Digital in 2007 after completing a nine-year active-duty career with the United States Marine Corps. During the 2016 election cycle, he provided executive protection for Dr. Ben Carson. He has also authored articles for Security Info Watch.