Reports from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Equipment Register find that construction site crime costs contractors between $300 million and $1 billion each year. The busiest month for thefts is August, with the most commonly stolen items being copper, lumber, hand tools, power tools and, yes, heavy machinery. Less than 25% of what’s lifted ever gets recovered.
What can you do to protect your equipment — and your bottom line?
1. Start with Common Sense
You wouldn’t leave your car or truck out overnight with the doors unlocked, a window rolled down or the keys on the seat, would you? That’s an open invitation for thieves, and it happens too often on work sites. Remind your operators to close machine windows, lock cabin doors and secure keys at the end of every shift. Some contractors take things a step further — before the site shuts down for the night, they park all equipment in a circle, with the smaller machines placed in the middle, to deter theft.
2. Light Up Your Site
There’s a reason criminals tend to work at night. Installing security lighting on site can help dissuade thieves. Consider motion-sensor lighting that puts a spotlight on unexpected movement and alerts you to any suspicious activity. Another option is a tall light tower with a 360-degree rotating beam of light — sure to intimidate any aspiring thief.
3. Fence Out Criminals
Like lighting, fencing discourages thieves from setting foot on your site. Criminals want to get in and out quickly, without making any noise or drawing attention to themselves. Chain-link fences and gates make your site a much less attractive mark. Think about using fence coverings, too — they can help prevent outsiders from seeing exactly what valuable items you’re keeping on the other side.
4. Get It On Camera
A digital, wireless video system can add clear and interference-free nighttime security to any location. You can set it up to record continuously during off hours or have cameras programmed for motion activation. You can have one camera monitor several different locations or set up multiple cameras on the same system to track designated areas. There are plenty of options — just try to find a portable system that moves with you easily as the job progresses.
5. Turn On Tracking
If you are a victim of theft, your chances of recovering what’s stolen go up if it’s equipped with GPS tracking technology. Most modern equipment comes with built-in telematics that monitor location. Make sure your telematics system is turned on, so you can quickly hone in on a machine’s whereabouts if it goes missing. Also, these systems often include features like geo-fencing or time-fencing that can alert you if equipment moves outside predetermined location or hour boundaries.
Crime may not pay, but preventing it certainly does. If you must leave equipment, attachments and other expensive products on site overnight, these simple security measures can help you avoid the costs of recovery or replacement — and keep downtime due to theft to a minimum.