Reliable site security has become even more vital to construction sites in the post-pandemic world. Record-level unemployment and an ailing economy have added more fuel to crime rates across inner cities and suburbs. A new report shows that 95% of employers – including construction jobsite owners – have experienced some sort of theft over the past year.
In the construction industry, jobsite thefts cost site owners some $1 billion in losses last year. That’s only the value of stolen items, not to mention costs from delays and low worker morale resulting from thefts.
To boot, these are just news-worthy parts of jobsite theft statistics. There are many other disturbing statistics you probably haven’t heard of yet, but which are critical to construction site security in the post-pandemic world.
4 Shocking Construction Site Theft Statistics You Probably Don’t Know About
It usually involves organized crime
In most cases, a ring of thieves organize themselves and fan out into a neighborhood, targeting construction sites.
The targets are usually easily movable
The most commonly stolen items are valuable that are easy to whisk away. For instance, small-sized generators, mowers, and hand-held drills are usually targeted more frequently than excavators and scaffolding.
It’s usually an August event
Construction site crime statistics over the years consistently show that construction crime rates peak in August – not surprising though, given that August is also the peak period for construction projects.
Moving targets are less appealing
Most times, targeted valuables are those left sitting in a particular spot for long. Also, as you’d imagine, the less secure the valuables, the more likely they are to become targeted. Such targets usually give the stealers enough time and opportunities to plan out their theft.
How About Employee Theft On Construction Sites?
So far, we’ve focused mostly on theft carried out by external actors. But how about employee theft? The US Chamber of Commerce recently released a report showing that three out of four employees – including construction site workers – have once stolen from their employers.
No doubt, employee theft accounts for a large part of the $1 billion annual loss that construction sites suffer from thefts. It’s a common threat in construction sites – 95% of all employers have experienced employee theft. Also, about 42% of inventory loss results from employee theft.
It’s even more disturbing when you consider that employee theft is the major reason behind some 33% of all business bankruptcies. The future isn’t looking any better – in fact, it could be worse. Before the pandemic hit, employee theft was slowly declining. Official records showed a 4% decrease in employee theft in 2019. However, the figures began rising again since the onset of the pandemic, and aren’t showing any sign of simmering, given the tough times.
In many cases, employees steal out of desperation to solve pressing personal needs or those of their family members. However, your employees can steal for a whole lot of other reasons, including because:
Convenience: They’re certain that can get away with it; they can pull off a fast one and make away with valuables without any serious risks.
Unbridled greed: Some people just can’t do without taking what doesn’t belong to them. Your employees may not have any urgent personal needs, yet they may still take advantage of any opportunity they have to steal from you.
Revenge: Workers can also steal from their jobsites to get back at managers and superiors for any perceived mistreatments.
How To Secure Your Construction Site in the Post-Pandemic World
To prevent your site from becoming a part of any one of these disturbing statistics, you need to do your due diligence to ensure well-rounded construction site security. Most thieves usually explore security lapses – unguarded areas, poor lighting, etc.
Here are the most important things you need to consider when setting up your construction site security:
Track inventories thoroughly:
Make sure you use a tight inventory system to account for every valuable on your site at the start and end of every workday. Give all your inventories permanent markings in inconspicuous places so you can identify them if they’re stolen.
Widen the coverage of your camera and lighting systems:
Add as many cameras and lighting points as possible to your construction surveillance system to cover as many areas of your site as possible. The sight of cameras and bright lights around every nook and cranny of your construction site will act as a major deterrent to thieves.
Hire remote monitoring services:
The best form of construction-site surveillance is one that involves round-the-clock monitoring of live video feeds from the premises. Remote monitoring services place surveillance experts on the watch over your video feed 24/7 to lookout and address any suspicious activities.
Use Remotely Activated Alarms
Remote monitoring services can work with alarm systems, setting off the alarms remotely to deter criminals spotted on the video feed. You can also set up alarms integrated with motion sensors on strategic locations like gateways and windows. That way, the alarms will go off whenever anyone attempts to break and enter.
Ground your equipment:
Another effective way to prevent theft is to immobilize your equipment. When equipment are no longer in use, they should be stored in a way that makes it quite hard to move them. For instance, you can remove the wheels, batteries, and other vital components of equipment.
Use GPS trackers:
You can install GPS trackers on some of your equipment. Some GPS trackers come with geofencing features that alert you when the tracked items are moved away from your site.
Schedule Your deliveries properly:
As noted earlier, thieves often target valuables left lying in one spot for long. In the light of this, you can schedule your delivery to come in just as needed to avoid materials lying around unused for long.
Employee theft policies:
When creating your employee theft policies, you need to consider the factors that motivate employees to steal from you.
Create a workplace culture that’s supportive and makes allowances to accommodate your employees’ personal needs. Use strict anti-theft policies and auditing processes to discourage them from giving in to their greed or urge for revenge theft.
With these statistics in mind, you’ll be better-placed to deal with the security climate of the post-pandemic world. You now know where the threats will likely come from – internally and externally.
If your equipment gets stolen, it’ll most likely be investigated along with similar thefts in other construction sites in your neighborhood because it could be a widespread gang operation. Your employees might want to steal from you out of sheer greed, pressing personal needs, or desire for revenge.
But you can put the construction site surveillance measures we’ve outlined in place to significantly minimize your chances of experiencing any form of theft on your site. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of your construction site security, you can always make do with professional recommendations from Aclarity.