construction site robbery
Property Casualty

How to Avoid Making Your Job Site an Easy Target for Thieves

Kevin Sidwell
Kevin Sidwell
Senior Claims Consultant, Property Casualty

One billion dollars…that’s what the U.S. National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates is stolen in construction equipment each year. Why? Unattended construction sites are easy targets for thieves, especially those sites lacking adequate security measures. Think about it. How often do you drive by a site at night and see no one there, but lots of equipment out in the open?

Thieves tend to see construction sites as a “go-to” spot when compared with more conventional robbery targets. After all, most job sites are located in open areas, without the benefit of the natural security of enclosed walls and a roof, and not overly close to regular police patrol routes. These factors, coupled with the fact that building sites often contain very valuable supplies (heavy equipment, power and hand tools, and materials such as copper) that are easy to grab and difficult to track (construction equipment uses no standardized serial number system) make for a crime that provides minimal risk and maximum potential reward.

To make matters worse, the cost of being the victim of construction theft runs deeper than just the value of the items stolen. Equipment loss due to theft can spike project costs. While you may be able to get coverage for a certain amount of loss, there are still the costs associated with deductibles and replacing stolen depreciated items with new ones and production delays. In fact, uninsured costs usually exceed the costs paid by the insurance coverage, adding to operating expenses.

So what can you do if you’re a contractor to ensure your job site remains secure and you aren’t the victim of this crime? One strategy that can be used is to implement a “Contractors Equipment Security Checklist.” These are planning and prevention techniques that can be used to be proactive in the security space on job sites. 

I’ve outlined some potential planning and prevention considerations below, but there are many more I can share!

  • Develop a system to identify who delivers packages/equipment
  • Require those delivery people to have a company badge/license
  • Walk the site in the morning and the end of the day to ensure everything is in place and locked
  • Have a serial number log for all equipment to ensure inventory can be accounted for
  • To deter theft, display warning signs that serial numbers are recorded
  • Have GPS tracking capabilities for all trailers and mobile equipment
  • Install surveillance cameras/alarms on the job site, if possible
  • Have local law enforcement numbers readily available for employees
  • Once a theft occurs, notify the insurance carrier or Holmes Murphy ASAP so a thorough investigation can begin

Like I mentioned, there are many other prevention techniques you can put into place. The ones I’ve stated above are just the beginning. If you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Remember, most thieves are looking for a quick crime and will not attempt to steal if they cannot enter the site, load the equipment, and leave within a 10-minute timeframe. Anything you can do to be more secure is worth it!

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