There’s nothing worse than working hard for years on end to get money for expensive tools and gadgets, only to turn up to a job the next day to find them gone. Of course, it’s not just about the cost of the equipment itself- costs of downtime and project overruns if the missing equipment and materials delay a project can quickly add up to an eye-watering sum.
You’ve taken the obvious precautions, so how has someone managed to get a five finger discount on the equipment you’ve worked your own fingers to the bone for?
We believe the key to this isn’t in changing your behaviour- it’s in trying to understand exactly why these thieves targeted you in the first place. What exactly does a burglar look for in a target? We’ve got some ideas to help make your site even safer…
Weak entry points
This isn’t about what you haven’t done on the site itself; it about understanding the area around it, such as areas around the site that have a low level of lighting or even shady wooded areas that can help a burglar avoid detection from any passer-by.
You can only depend on street lights so much, and even then they may not be particularly helpful when trying to identify someone in CCTV imagery if you are fortunate enough to capture it. Perhaps consider an external light so you can cover any particularly dark spots on the site, which will make any thief think twice if there’s a chance that they will be spotted whilst trying to enter the site.
You’ve put up appropriate fencing and all basic security measures that you can control however there may be areas that you might not have thought of. Whilst you haven’t exactly put up a ladder to help someone get over your fence, a Portaloo or similar may act as one to someone looking to gain entry. Other factors, such as scaffolding hanging over the site, skips or trees that would be easy to climb up onto to jump a fence may make an area much more accessible and therefore more appealing.
Keeping tools and building materials in storage boxes and cargo trailers with heavy gauge, tamper resistant locks and chains make tools more difficult to get hold of, and therefore should definitely be a consideration if you haven’t already got them. In essence, you need to be prepared for the worst, and to make their job as hard as possible if they do manage to get into the site.
Checking for security flaws
Daily perimeter checks could be key in identifying issues with systems and procedures that you already have in place. During a busy day, broken fencing and rusty locks are easy to miss, but a dedicated check could pick up these issues before they are found by someone looking to rob you.
Construction site thefts are extremely common not only because of the high value of goods often stored on them, but also the high foot flow of people coming and going, such as subcontractors. Essentially these types of opportunistic thieves are hiding in plain sight, so therefore we recommend keeping a record of people who enter the site to refer back to just in case a theft takes place.
Know your enemy
It’s a sad fact, but predominantly thefts are carried out by people who are familiar with an area- this is statistically proven in both house and business burglaries. Presumably, you are thinking you need to protect your equipment from strangers. But who knows better than someone who has already seen exactly what you have and where you store it? Obviously, someone who does this is an anomaly, and thankfully isn’t going to be true of all your employees, if any.
But it’s worth considering ways in which to let any potential sticky fingers know that you’re watching. Perhaps try storing the equipment in different places alternately, so a thief can never be sure where the items will be. Keeping a record of any key holders to equipment lock-ups and maybe even staying out of hours from time to time are subtle ways in which to plant the seed that you have got your eyes on the site at all times.
An obvious choice for sure, but not everyone makes the investment. Whilst it can be costly to initially install, it more than pays for itself in terms of how off-putting it is to a thief. Clear signage that indicates a heavily-guarded CCTV system is a big red flag, and far too risky. But in cases where the thief decides to try their luck anyway, careful placement of the cameras can present you with an image to take to the police in the worst case scenario that a theft happens anyway.
Consider the above points about easy access- is there any way that you can place a camera and good lighting in these areas if there is little you can do to reduce the issue? Covering the whole site can be tricky and expensive, but thinking about the path that a thief might take whilst on your site is a great way of figuring out exactly where to place the cameras.
Clearly, it is never the fault of the person who has goods lifted from them- the blame lies firmly with whomever took them. However we believe that taking these precautions makes you less attractive to thieves, and therefore lessens the chances of it happening to you.