Left unattended at construction sites across the country during the off-hours, construction equipment is a prime target for thieves. Because the loot that awaits them is relatively low risk with the opportunity for high rewards – with an average rate of less than 25% theft recovery – thieves are drawn to construction sites like moths to a flame. However, understanding equipment theft can be some of the first steps taken towards ending it entirely.
Construction equipment is tempting to thieves for a few reasons: 1) Because equipment is often left unattended in poorly lit, seldom patrolled areas of a site; 2) Because equipment has pretty strong resale value; and 3) Because without a national database or registry that centrally stores titles and registrations for construction equipment, tracking down stolen goods can be nearly impossible. Add in the National Equipment Register’s estimation that the US sees annual losses of anywhere between $300 million and $1 billion due to construction equipment theft, and you’ve got one irrefutable truth: construction crews need to take equipment theft seriously.
Here are some ways you can take action and prevent thefts at your site:
Protect your goods – both old and new
While it may seem obvious that thieves would be attracted to newer makes and models of tools and equipment, evidence shows that older models may be favoured thanks to the older technology’s lack of built-in GPS tracking systems. According to Construct Connect, half of the construction equipment stolen in 2016 was made in the last five years; meanwhile, 30% of stolen equipment was at least 10 years old, and the remaining 20% was equipment that used technology that was anywhere between 11 and 15 years old. So while your first instinct when preventing theft at your site may be to protect the newer and shinier goods on hand, it may be more worthwhile to lock up the older tools/equipment you have kicking around.
Be aware of your surroundings
Being aware of your surroundings is always good advice, but when it comes to deterring theft at a construction site, looking at your surroundings takes on a new meaning. Since areas with high volumes of construction activity often translate into areas with more thefts, beefing up on security when realizing that your city is experiencing a construction boom may help deter thieves.
Also key is knowing where in America construction thefts are most likely to occur. According to Construct Connect, the top three states that had the highest rates of construction equipment thefts were California, Texas, and Florida – so if you run a site in any of these states, being prepared may mean that your site does not fall victim to thieves.
Invest in deterrence
Above all else, deterrence is key to preventing theft. Whether it’s installing lights and fences to better light and secure your larger items, or installing security cameras and enlisting the services of security guards to better patrol the area, visual signals that communicate that a site is protected against theft will help deter thieves and vandals. And if criminals are deterred, the headaches and expenses associated with replacing stolen items can be avoided entirely.