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Types of Construction Theft and How to Prevent Them

Whenever jobsite theft occurs, it inevitably results in significant inconvenience and cost implications.

This typically stems from project delays, downtime for skilled equipment operators, increased insurance premiums, and, in some cases, policy cancellations.

The security experts at WCCTV recently published the latest statistics on jobsite crime - with figures suggesting theft costs the industry between $300 million and $1 billion annually.

Thieves will target anything of value on your jobsites, whether that’s lumber, scrap metal, power tools or even high-dollar plant machinery.

Unfortunately, some of these thefts occur because criminals are presented with an invitation - such as an unlocked gate, keys left in vehicles, or inadequate perimeter protection.

Construction Site Theft Statistics (And How to Avoid Becoming One)

These issues are easy to prevent by following basic safety and security measures, many of which we have outlined below.

Deal with more organized crime is a different challenge entirely.

There are large scale criminal organizations that target construction equipment for overseas shipment and resale.

For instance, in the City of Commerce, CA, a warehouse was discovered to contain 120 forklifts, 37 construction-grade items, and ten job site generators, all totaling $5 million.

According to the police, this warehouse was a ‘chop shop’ where the thieves grind down and repaint equipment with new serial numbers before attempting to sell them as refurbished items.

Construction site theft is all to often accepted as a ‘normal cost’ of doing business due to the wide range of risks and potential perpetrators involved. However, this does not have to be the case.

Implementing a proactive construction job site strategy, utilizing the latest techniques and technology, can effectively minimize losses on job sites and halt thieves' efforts.

Types of Construction Theft and How to Prevent Them Solar Trailer 1

Job Site Theft of Heavy Equipment

Construction equipment is a highly targeted property on construction job sites, with theft occurring most frequently in areas where construction activity is booming. These thefts can even occur in broad daylight.

Heavy equipment theft can result in significant financial losses, often amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. According to a study by LoJack, the top five most stolen equipment pieces were:

  • Wheeled or tracked loaders, including backhoes and skid steers

  • Towables, including generators, light towers, and chippers

  • Excavators

  • Trailers and RVs

  • Utility vehicles

There are several methods for securing vehicles on construction sites:

  1. Vehicles with keys can be secured by strictly managing access.

  2. Smaller towable equipment, such as compressors, generators, and light plants, can be secured using locked chains or surrounded by larger equipment or barriers.

It is essential to take adequate measures to secure these and other types of equipment on construction job sites to prevent theft and minimize losses.

Sruveillance Trailer Protects Plant Machinery

Tool Theft on Construction Job Sites

Hand and power tools are quick and easy targets for opportunist thieves; they are small and light enough to fit into a bag.

One simple yet effective preventative step for preventing tool theft is designating someone to track tool usage and inventory.

Keeping a running inventory of all deliveries in and out will help you know precisely what equipment and materials are always on-site. Keep a paper trail for every item from the point of order through delivery and implementation.

Prevent Theft on Your Job Site with a Proactive Approach

Taking a proactive approach to crime prevention is essential, and your choice of surveillance camera usage can make a huge difference.

Most security cameras simply record event, allowing you to gather evidence of crimes that have occurred.

But this passive approach only fuels criminality, as thieves can just disguise their appearance.

That’s why WCCTV takes a proactive approach to surveillance. Our cameras contain advanced video analytics for enhanced intrusion detection.

When an intruder is spotted, this alerts our video monitoring professional who will initiate a real-time crime prevention response, including audio warning and law enforcement dispatch.

WCCTV Mobile Surveillance Trailer Protects Lumber and Materials

Construction Site Surveillance Cameras

Secondly, we recognize that while cameras are incredibly effective, there are several basic measures job sites can take to tighten security.

There are several methods for securing equipment on construction job sites:

  • Physical barriers: Fencing, walls, and gates can prevent unauthorized access to the job site.

  • Locks: Equipment can be secured using locks, such as padlocks or combination locks, to prevent theft.

  • Security cameras: Video surveillance cameras can deter thieves and capture footage of any thefts that do occur.

  • Alarms: Motion detectors, sound sensors, and types of alarms can alert security personnel or law enforcement to any unauthorized access to the job site.

  • Identification and tracking: Marking equipment with identification numbers or using tracking technology, such as GPS, can make it easier to locate and identify stolen equipment if it is recovered.

  • Lighting: Adequate lighting can help deter theft by making it more difficult for thieves to operate under cover of darkness.

Implementing these methods can significantly reduce the risk of theft on construction job sites; WCCTV has created the Ultimate Construction Job Site Security Checklist, a free download that helps close the gaps in your security processes. Download free below.

The Ultimate Construction Job Site Security Checklist

WCCTV - Managed Surveillance Cameras for Construction Job Sites

WCCTV is the USA's leading expert in managed surveillance cameras for construction job site security.

We supply the highest quality security cameras backed by a service that ensures your sites are protected 24/7, with minimal impact on your time or resources.

Our rapid-deployment cameras can be utilized for multiple applications, including security, time lapse video capture, and remote project management.

We can provide cameras that function whether you have power or are dependent on solar energy. Our units contain 4G LTE transmission technology allowing them to operate entirely autonomously.

No matter your site, we have a security solution for you.

Ready to find out how WCCTV's Mobile Surveillance Cameras can assist with site security? Fill out a quick contact form or speak to our team at 877 805-9475 or email

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