Construction Site Crime- Set Backs and Downtimes, Counting The True Cost.


Construction site thefts are  hard to put a figure to the full cost.  Experts estimate between $300 million and $1 billion is lost every year. But in reality, the cost cannot be expressed in financial terms alone.

The aftershock from theft can be catastrophic to entire communities, putting breadwinners out of work, disrupting supply chains, and creating environmental hazards.

Construction site theft goes unreported or underreported in many cases, and most fully reported cases do not account for socio-economic impacts like safety reports that scare investors and attract heftier insurance premiums.

But the good news is you can prevent all of this by stopping theft dead in its tracks on your construction site.

What Types of Valuables Are Usually Lost to Theft?

Most commonly stolen goods have two things in common – they’re portable and pawnable. They’re easy to cart away and pawn in black markets. But large construction site equipment don’t go unnoticed.


Tools are common targets in insider thefts. It’s easy for a worker to slip a company spanner or tape in their back pocket when taking their leave.


In residential construction sites with furnished sections, home appliances like T.Vs, stoves, and water pumps are often targets for criminals.


Lumber is in high demand and a high-value target for construction site thieves.

Heavy Equipment

Stealing heavy equipment requires a high degree of expertise and meticulous planning and execution. Most times, insiders are involved or the criminals are unknowingly allowed on the site.

What’s The Cost of Replacing Stolen Items?

With rising inflation and supply chain disruptions owing to the pandemic, construction materials have seen steep price increases over the past year alone. Products like windows and lumber now cost 22% more.

It makes more financial sense to spend money on proper security measures rather than on replacements for stolen items. Not to mention avoiding delays and downtimes from construction site theft.

What About The Cost of Employee Theft?

Employee theft is to blame for nearly one out of three failed businesses. Even more concerning, about 25 – 40% of all employees commit workplace theft. Workers pilfering small tools and materials on site are just minor cases. On average, employees set a business back by $25,000 when they steal something. Some estimates are even more brutal, like this one that says employers lose $145,000 on average.

Rippling Effects Down The Supply Chain

If work is halted on a construction site because of stolen materials, some suppliers might not get orders as initially planned. The downtimes on the construction site could mean suppliers have to wait longer, resulting in extra costs from interests and insurance.

Environmental Impacts

Construction site criminals often leave trials of hazards behind them. They vandalize anything that gets in their way, including public amenities like water and power installations. In cases of copper wire theft, criminals smash through everything to retrieve the copper wires, including water pipes, sometimes causing street floods.

How To Guard Against Construction Site Theft

construction site theft

Construction site thieves are smart, but most times, site owners fail to secure their property properly. In fact, most construction site thefts can be prevented with the right security measures in place. Tight access to valuables, camera systems free from blind spots, and round-the-clock remote surveillance make it extremely hard for anyone to think of stealing from you.

Well-rounded Surveillance Systems

The visible presence of security cameras on a jobsite is a huge deterrent to criminals. With cameras covering every inch of the property, it’s nearly impossible for any crime to go unnoticed.

Ensure your cameras are placed high up the wall beyond arms reach and in a compact arrangement that leaves no space unmonitored.

Efficient Access Control

This requires both technology and onsite policies. Let everyone know who can access what part of the building, especially storerooms where valuables and inventories are kept. You also need to put the right measures in place to ensure that access protocol is observed at all times.

Securing Vulnerable Areas of Your Site

Criminals target vulnerable areas of a site when breaking and entering. For instance, low fences make your site an easier target. Unguarded parking lots are a potential entry point for criminals.

Also, a storage rooms without efficient access control and close monitoring is inviting to both insider and outsider theft.

You need to address all these vulnerabilities on time to ensure your site is heavily fortified. Put measures in place like alarms and motion detectors to beef up security in these vulnerable areas. Make sure they’re well-covered under your cameras.

Remote Surveillance

With remote surveillance, you’ll have watchful expert eyes constantly on the lookout for any suspicious signs on your site. Excellent remote surveillance teams also work with video analytics software that alert them to signs they might have missed.

They also work with local authorities to bring quick intervention to a crime scene. Local authorities treat distress calls from surveillance experts with more urgency knowing the situation is being monitored by security experts.

24/7 Surveillance:

Criminals often make their move on a deserted site, when they think no one is around watching. With 24/7 surveillance, you give them no chance to steal from you. If you can afford guards to patrol your site, a remote surveillance is a cost-effective option to have your site on watch round the clock. They’ll keep expert eyes on your site during both on and off work hours, weekends, holidays, and off seasons.

Put Your Site Beyond the Reach of Criminals

Construction site theft has been on the rise for years now, and there seems to be no end in sight. But by putting effective security measures in place, you can avoid being counted among the mounting cases of theft.

Implement tight access control, set up a surveillance system that covers every inch of your property, and adopt remote monitoring for optimal, round-the-clock surveillance. These are measures that deter anyone from stealing from you and helps you apprehend dare-devil criminals who dare to plan and execute a theft.

At Aclarity, we’re in the business of keeping criminals off construction sites. Our reliable control centers are run by seasoned certified surveillance experts round-the-clock.

Reach out to us today us today and let’s help plug security gaps on your site.


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