Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

Jobsite Theft Prevention: Tips to Protect Your Equipment from Theft

As much as we want to believe people are good and honorable, there are those out there who prey on construction sites for any possible tools and equipment they can steal. Here are 10 jobsite theft prevention tips that’ll keep the bad guys from stealing your tools and equipment.

For more than a decade now, residential and commercial construction sites have attracted thieves like flies to honey.

The National Equipment Register estimates that anywhere from $300 million to $1 billion worth of equipment is stolen from jobsites every year. The reason the value is such a large range is that thefts often go unreported.

Even with the introduction of around-the-clock video surveillance, thieves have not been deterred from stealing from construction sites. This is due to the perceived high value, low risk of stealing from jobsites.

Successful jobsite theft prevention requires construction companies to be proactive about securing their tools and other valuables from thieves.

Tips for Jobsite Theft Prevention

One of the things most commonly stolen from construction sites are tools. Since they are small and easily portable, it’s easy for even one of your employees to pocket them. Read this blog to learn about other items that are at risk of being stolen from your construction site.

Secure Your Jobsite

The first step to protecting your jobsite is having a solid security plan. Before you even start work on the location, devise a plan that will provide a high level of security to every corner of the construction site.

This should include the use of video surveillance, sturdy locks on gates, motion sensors and lighting. By creating a secure and obviously monitored jobsite, you will be able to significantly reduce the rate of theft on your construction site.

Your Jobsite Should Be Well Lit At Night

Construction site thieves are often committing a crime of opportunity. When construction sites are left in the dark, it’s basically an invitation for thieves.

When you keep your construction area well lit, it discourages these thieves. As soon as people think they are being watched, they are much less likely to commit a crime. Having motion sensitive lights can also be effective.

The last thing a thief wants is to be caught red-handed when they suddenly find themselves in a bright spotlight.

Unfortunately, many of the thefts that occur on construction sites are an inside job. This can include employees stealing things during the day or using their knowledge of the site and it’s security measures to steal things at night when the site is empty.

Don’t Overstock Your Construction Site

While it’s true that there is often a financial incentive to ordering supplies in bulk, avoid leaving these extra supplies around your construction site.

When there are large volumes of currently unused but valuable supplies sitting around your construction site such as lumber or copper, thieves start to think of ways that they can steal these extra supplies.

If you are ordering supplies as you go, you can ensure timely delivery by giving your supplier’s advance notice of when you will need to receive each batch of items. This way your projects are not delayed but you’re not leaving yourself open to theft either.

Keep Strict Inventory Records

One of the main reason that employees will steal on a construction site is that they are under the assumption that no one is keeping track of the inventory on the construction site.

Get rid of that assumption by having a paper trail for every item that is delivered to your jobsite. Designate someone in charge of each delivery and make it their job to track those supplies from the day it reaches the construction site until its put into use.

When everything is accounted for, you will notice right away if something goes missing. Construction software can help you manage your inventory of supplies as well.

Conduct a Thorough Background Check of All Your Employees

This is a pretty standard formality for most employers, but it’s an important one. Conducting a detailed background check of each of your employees will make you feel better about them having complete access to your construction site.

Control Access to the Jobsite

Almost a continuation of the previous point, you want to only allow trustworthy people to have access to the jobsite.

You can use fingerprint scans or codes to log everyone who comes and goes from your construction site. You can use this database to record each time equipment is used as well.

This way in there is a problem with a piece of equipment or something goes missing, you’re not just guessing about who has been using it. Displaying to your employees that you know exactly what is going on on the jobsite also deters people from theft.

Give Your Equipment Distinct Markings

Give larger pieces of equipment serial numbers that you have listed in a document as well as being printed on the piece of equipment. For smaller items, stamp them with your company logo.

While it’s true that people can paint over these either of these markings, it means extra work for them. And if they don’t paint over them, it makes it that much easier for the police to identify the owner of the stolen equipment.

Always Report Any Instances of Theft

Often construction companies don’t bother to report thefts from their jobsites. The managers of the construction site may decide that it’s not worth the hassle of going to the police because it’s a waste of time.

Unless you report every theft to the police, you’re leaving yourself open to further thefts. While the police may not find the stolen items, they’ll at least be aware that a crime has happened at a specific location.

Police are will also pay more attention to a location where a crime has already been committed. The idea is that the thief will return and steal other things from the jobsite. However, an increased police presence will serve as a significant deterrent to potential thieves.

Proactive Action is the Best Prevention

As you can see from most of these tips, proactive action is the best jobsite theft prevention. Having visible security measures in place is one of the best ways to deter criminals from targeting your jobsite.

Along with protecting your jobsites, it’s important to protect your offices as well. Read more about the most reliable lock brands for keeping your computers and other office valuables safe.