Dec 15
Guards vs Video Surveillance

Recovering from Crime on a Construction Site

What do I do after my construction site has been robbed?

The construction industry is currently bleeding money all around the world because of construction site theft.  Keeping track of your equipment can be a lot tougher than you imagine and recovering from crime on a construction site can be even tougher.  Do as much as you can to make sure your construction site is as secure as it can possibly be.

Studies have shown that a large percentage of jobsite thefts are by employees or subcontractors working directly on the job. They know when the job is vacant, where materials and tools are being stored, and sometimes even have privileged access. What’s more, because they do work on the job, their presence ‘after hours’ doesn’t spark suspicion to occasional law enforcement.  A jobsite theft investigation should start with employees and subcontractors who have been working on the job.  From there, contact neighboring contractors to see if they will cooperate in investigating employees and subconstractors on their sites.

Recovering from crime on a construction site can be a very stressful experience. A robbery could set your work back by months (depending on what’s been stolen) which could result in a lost profits. Time is of the essence when your jobsite has been compromised. Following these important steps can improve your chances of recovering stolen tools, equipment and materials.

Recovering from crime - file a police report

To Recover from Crime ALWAYS File a Police Report.

Even if it’s just a few hundred dollars in missing items. A police report will make things easier down the line should your items be discovered.  It may also result in an increase of patrols around your site by local law officers. It may help local police departments budget for more officers and/or allocate resources to certain areas of the city.  Police reports can be filed on line and over the phone in most jurisdictions.  

Be aware that filing a police report is the end of most theft investigations.  Most jobsite thefts that get reported to the authorities get no further than a police report. Lack of obvious clues to follow and a fresh, daily  case load make it impossible for local police to devote valuable resources to these cases.  As a result, most stolen goods are never recovered. For larger, more costly items, you might consider hiring a private investigator.

Documenting Everything will Help in Recovering Missing Items

Take an accurate inventory when documenting everything that is missing.  Ask all subcontractors on the site for a list of what’s missing and where it was before it was taken.  Identify points of entry and all areas that show signs of disturbance.  If there is any chance of recovering missing items, this will be of enormous help to the police.

Make police aware if you find something that may belong to the burglar.  But don’t touch it because finger prints are easily disturbed.  If you suspect thieves have stolen spare keys, change your locks right away. 

Communicating Locally is Another Important Step to Recovering Your Losses

Communicate with local pawn shops, used tool & equipment stores, recyclers and used building material outlets such as Habitat Restore or Second Chance.  Thieves try to dump things quickly at some of these places, so let them know what to watch for.  This may help you recover your losses.

Recover from Crime with Minimal Loss of Time and Money 

Secure your Construction Site for minimal loss of time and money

Regardless of the level of security you choose to employ, it is prudent to be prepared for the possibility of theft.    Recovering from crime on a construction site is easier if you have prepared for it in advance.  Advanced planning can reduce your headaches and help you get on with “business as usual” with minimal loss of time and money. Review what construction site security measures you have in place and if you need to, make changes. The following preparatory guidelines will prevent theft, ease your pain, and potentially save you a lot of money.

  • Perform pre-employment and pre-subcontract background checks.
  • Keep a record of all security incidents
  • Keep a file of photos and serial numbers for equipment, tools 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
  • 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
  • Employ Video License Plate Capture

Planning Your Site for Prevention and Recovery From Crime

Our Camera Equipment

  • Know what theives are looking for and how to prevent them from taking it.
  • Create 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.
  • 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.  Bear in mind that screening on fences give criminals privacy if they do penetrate your fence.
  • Keep your construction equipment in well-lit, fenced-in areas.
  • Post security/no trespassing signage on fences and gates.
  • Controlled access to the jobsite: Have as few entry points to your site as possible and know when people are arriving/ leaving.
  • Use Video Security with at least one week of saved footage of Entire Event
    (not just short clips before and after the event).  Focal Point Security provides up to 30 days of stored video.

(The featured image at the top of this page was an actual capture that Focal Point Security was responsible for. These criminals had been burglarizing many construction sites in the area. Focal Point Security provided law enforcement with video evidence that resulted in breaking up the ring and convicting the perpetrators.)