Preventing Theft on a Construction Site

Preventing theft on a construction site can make the
difference between making a profit or suffering a loss.
    We hope these guidelines will help keep your profits in your pocket.

Know the Thieves’ Targets

Protect your tracked equipmentMaking 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, welders and some video systems that are designed for towing.  Anything 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.

Copper is a popular item for thieves


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. Since the economic down turn due to covid, lumber has become a huge target for theft. You may have heard “lumber is the new copper”.


Actions to take in Before you are a Victim

The following is a list of actions you can proactively take in advance of the threat of theft.
Following these guidelines will help you prevent theft on your construction site.

In the event that you are the victim of theft, following these guidelines will 

Minimize Your Headaches
and may
Expedite the Return of Stolen Items

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.

Defensive Site Planning is Vital in Preventing Theft on a Construction Site

Preventing Theft with fencing

  • Establish a job site security plan that outlines safe ways employees can report suspicious behavior or internal crime to management.
  • Clearly define company policies on how criminal activity will be dealt with.
  • Foster security awareness among all workers  in your company and on your construction site.
  • Keep a record of all security incidents.
  • 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.  But bear in mind that screening on fences give criminals privacy to do their deed if they do penetrate the fence.  
  • 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
  • Use video license plate capture.
  • Use video surveillance with at least one week of saved footage to give to police.

Proper Handling of Tools and Materials for Preventing Theft on a Construction Site

Prevent theft of tools

  • Don’t overstock tools or material – only order as needed.
  • Schedule material deliveries to coincide with your schedule of installation.
  • Create a check-out system for all tools and equipment.  “ATTENTION! ALL TOOLS MUST BE SIGNED IN & OUT.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Store equipment, materials, and tools away from perimeter fencing.
  • Store tools and small equipment in locked storage boxes.
  • Provide a secure storage area for target building materials.

Guidelines for Wheeled Equipment in Preventing Theft on a Construction Site

  • 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.
  • Lock all equipment cabs during non-working hours.Secure all wheeled equipment after 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.
  • Install radio-frequency identification (RFID), particularly to your large equipment.
  • Use electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to equipment.

Site Security Services Help in Preventing Theft on a Construction Site

Prevent crime on your Construction Site with video security

  • Know your security optionsThe most important things to consider are cost and liability.  These are the most compelling arguments in favor of using Live Remote Video Monitoring and Response verses a Live Guard.  Live video surveillance systems deliver a higher level of protection at a fraction of the cost. These systems eliminate potential human errors such as fatigue, inattentiveness, and sleeping while on duty.
  • Equip your site with security cameras that are remotely monitored.
  • Employ remotely activated audio down speaker to establish communication with intruders.
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.