Site Theft Prevention 

Sometimes, a contractor’s ability to control theft and vandalism on his construction site can make the difference between making a profit or suffering a loss. We hope these suggestions will help keep your profits in your pocket.

Know the Thieves’ Targets 

Making yourself familiar with what thieves are looking for can help you identify your areas of vulnerability.The most commonly stolen items are equipment on wheels, tracked loaders and towable equipment such as light towers, generators and welders that can easily be loaded onto a trailer or towed off a construction site.

On one hand, construction equipment that is newer than five years is much sought after because newer equipment with fewer operating hours will have a higher resale value for thieves. On the other hand, older models are attractive to thieves because they are less likely to have any type of telematics systems or GPS tracking that can be used to recover stolen equipment.

Another item that is frequently stolen is copper.  As the global supply of copper continues to tighten, the market for illicit copper will likely increase.

The primary key to preventing construction site theft is deterrence.  The harder it is for thieves to quickly gain access, the less likely they will target your site because they want a job that is fast and easy. Thieves don’t want to spend any more time on your site than is necessary.


Preventative Precautions 

Site Planning 

  • Establish a job site security plan that outlines safe ways employees can report suspicious behavior to management.

  • Clearly define company policies on how criminal activity will be dealt with.

Foster security awareness among all workers on in your company and on your construction site.

  • Nurture relationships between yourself and managers of neighboring properties to report any suspicious activity you may see on each other’s property.

  • Lighting: Motion-censored or extra lighting can deter theft. The more light the better the deterrent.

  • Barriers: Perimeter or asset specific fencing makes it more difficult for thieves to enter your site, or to get assets out.

  • Keep your construction equipment in well-lit, fenced in areas.

  • Utilize security/no trespassing signage on fences and gates.

  • Controlled access to the jobsite: Have as few entry points to your site as possible.

  • Know when people are arriving and leaving the job site.

  • Keep your site locked after hours.

  • On site entry/exit verification

  • Hire a camera security company, guards or guard dogs.

Tools and Materials

Don’t overstock tools or material – only order as needed.

  • Schedule material deliveries to coincide with your schedule of installation.

  • Remove equipment and materials from the site when no longer needed. Don’t use the site to store materials, tools or equipment that is no longer needed.

  • Store equipment, materials, and tools away from perimeter fencing.

  • Store tools and small equipment in locked conex boxes.

  • Provide a secure storage area for target building materials.

Wheeled Equipment

  • Lock all equipment cabs during non-working hours.

  • Keep keys to motorized equipment in a lock box in your office trailer.

  • Immobilize equipment by disabling it or using anti-theft/anti-vandalism devices.

  • Lock oil and gas tank caps where possible as a means of deterring vandalism.

  • Install fuel shut-off systems on large equipment.

  • Circle larger equipment around smaller equipment.

  • Chain pieces of equipment together. 

  • Use wheel locks. 

  • Remove fuses and circuit breakers.

  • Use cab locks and immobilization devices to make moving the equipment harder.

  • Install radio-frequency identification (RFID), particularly to your large equipment. Using electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to equipment.

Security Technology

  • Install virtual fencing using thermal cameras positioned to point down the perimeters of your site.

  • Employ Geo-Fencing: a virtual geographic boundary, defined by GPS technology, that enables software, to trigger a response when a mobile device (cell phones) enters or leaves a particular area.

  • Employ remotely activated audio down speaker to establish communication with intruders.

The following is a list of actions you can proactively take in advance of the threat of theft.
While these suggestions will not prevent theft,
they will certainly Minimize Your Headaches in the event that you are the victim of theft
and may expedite the return of stolen items:

  • Keep a record of all security incidents 

  • Keep a file of photos and serial numbers for equipment, tool and materials for insurance purposes.

  • Engrave tools so if they are taken, they are easily identified.

  • Create a check-out system for all tools and equipment. Post a sign stating, “ATTENTION! ALL TOOLS MUST BE SIGNED IN & OUT.”

  • Register your most valuable equipment with the NER (National Equipment Register).

  • Install aftermarket vehicle tracking system (such as LoJack) on all of your wheeled equipment.

  • Video License plate capture.

  • Use video surveillance with at least one week of saved footage to give to police.

The recommendations, advice and contents of this material are provided for informational/educational purposes only and do not assume to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, or loss potential.  Focal Point Security and its affiliates specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any these tips and suggestions will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Focal Point Security is providing this information to you as a gift.  The decision to accept or implement any of these tips and suggestions is entirely your responsibility.