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The Most Common Thefts from Construction Sites

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Expensive machinery, tools, and valuable materials such as copper and lumber make construction sites a target for opportunist thieves.

Which Items Are Most Commonly Stolen From Construction Sites?

Construction site theft continues to be a major challenge for business owners. As the cost of materials and equipment rises, unsecured job sites present thieves with a low-risk, high-reward opportunity.

Materials such as copper, lumber, and tools are there for the taking when your crews leave the site, and unless you have a security process and surveillance cameras in place, thieves can help themselves.

WCCTV, the USA's leading provider of managed security cameras for construction job sites, details below the most commonly stolen items from job sites and explains how you can prevent your sites from being targeted. 


Statistics from the Department of Energy reveal that stolen copper exceeds $1 billion annually. 

Most of those thefts occur at construction sites where criminals know they can find and easily access it - even if the site has installed perimeter fencing.

Criminals know they can sell the copper for a good price, too, with the per-pound price rising from $3 to $4 between 2019 and 2021.

Copper theft from construction sites is one of the most common crimes and one of the most impactful for business owners. 

When equipment is stolen, the impact is generally only on the loss of the equipment, but when copper is stripped from a job site, it leaves a trail of destruction beyond just the value of the copper.

Thieves can rip out days, even weeks’ worth of work, to get at copper wiring or piping, causing significant delays to the project. 

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Lumber Theft

Lumber is easy to steal, transport, and resell and is in high demand, so it's no surprise it appears on our list of commonly stolen items from construction sites. 

Lumber is rarely inventoried and is often left unsecured overnight in laydown areas, making it an easy target for thieves. 

The material is in particularly high demand as shortages caused by the Coronavirus pandemic take hold. These shortages have seen the price of lumber soar through 2020 and 2021, with some reports of prices rising by up to 188%.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to a spate of lumber thefts from construction sites, with one site in Texas recently hit for over $10,000's worth of lumber in a burglary that took less than 20 minutes

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Small Tools Theft

Small construction tools such as hammers and saws are easy to transport, frequently left lying about on-site, and easy to resell, making them a prime target for opportunist thieves. 

While your company may not initially miss a wrench, saw, or hammer, the cumulative loss of multiple tools will eventually add up over time.

The inconvenience of replacing these smaller items also adds up to lost person-hours.

Ensuring a culture of site security, whereby tools are locked away at the end of every shift, is essential for removing this opportunity. Keeping an inventory of all tools on-site will also help.

Power Tools

Recent reports suggest that theft of power tools is increasing exponentially and will continue to rise through 2025. 

This is unsurprising. Power tools can be highly valuable, and the rise of online marketplaces such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and others allows these tools to be moved on quickly without questions. 

Time and productivity lost because of tool theft can damage a construction company's brand and reputation and sometimes result in financial penalties for missed deadlines.

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Heavy Machinery 

Theft of heavy machinery is less commonplace than small tools or power tools, but larger equipment remains a target for thieves looking to make a significant profit on a high-risk, high-reward crime. 

Ensuring that all keys are removed from loaders and earthmovers and that keys are not left on-site or locked away will help prevent most thefts. Taking further measures, such as removing batteries and steering wheels, will remove the opportunity almost completely. 

Contact WCCTV Today for a Job Site Security Quote

Managed Security Cameras for Construction Sites

WCCTV is the USA's leading supplier of mobile surveillance cameras for construction job sites.

We provide market-leading security cameras backed by a fully managed service that includes equipment installation, video monitoring, maintenance, and ongoing technical support.

Our rapid-deployment cameras provide construction sites with multi-application benefits, including security, time-lapse video filming, and remote project management.

Our customizable solutions can accommodate any site and function whether you have power or are dependent on solar energy. Our units contain 4G LTE transmission technology – allowing these solutions to operate autonomously.

No matter the site, we have a solution that we can create for you.

Ready to find out how WCCTV's Mobile Surveillance Cameras can assist with construction site security? Get in touch today at 877 805-9475 or email



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