Construction Site Security: Cameras, Fencing, and More

Construction sites, their equipment, and their supplies are frequent targets for thieves. Here are a few ways to prevent theft on your jobsite.

Last Updated:
August 2, 2023
| ~
min Read
Nikki Siegel
Marketing Writer

A new animal hospital in Indianapolis had to delay its opening by several months after so many break-ins that the owners lost count. They’ve lost the rooftop HVAC unit twice and the construction foreman’s truck. That’s not to mention all of the trespassers who have left couches, mattresses, and even a boat, forcing the construction company to remove the items on its own dime.

A project manager in Salt Lake City witnessed thieves loading materials into their truck. Unsure if they were armed, the project manager avoided confrontation and called the police to the scene. By the time police arrived, the thieves had made off with $10,000 worth of thermoplastic polyolefin.

A housing development in Idaho reported the loss of a trailer full of tools. Police found the trailer, but it had been emptied of $60,000 worth of survey equipment, a generator, and tools.

It’s no secret that construction sites are high-value targets for thieves. The sites are out in the open, they’re usually empty at nights, and the tools and materials offer a high resale value.

The annual cost of equipment theft costs the construction industry up to $1 billion dollars each year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. And it’s not just the nearly 1,000 pieces of equipment reported stolen each month (the true number here is bound to be much higher as not every theft is reported); it’s the delays, the increased insurance premiums, and the ever-mounting project costs.

Implementing security measures, such as installing construction site cameras, can reduce theft and deter vandals.

Create a Security Plan

Between its specific location and type of project, each construction site is unique and will have a different set of security needs. It’s important to map out your area, identify your vulnerabilities and high-value targets, and develop a strategy to protect your equipment and materials.

Once you’ve established what and where needs the most protection, you can devise a plan to most efficiently protect your assets. You may need to install a wireless security camera for business (or ten of them), or you might need to implement more physical barriers or enlist the aid of physically present security guards.

It can make a difference if you get your employees in on the effort by training them to be aware of security vulnerabilities, to follow security procedures, and to report any suspicious activity. The attention from your crew is of particular importance because construction sites are constantly changing, creating new weaknesses and high-value targets.

Implement Physical Barriers

The more accessible your equipment and materials, the easier mark you will be for thieves.

Fences—particularly those with controlled access—prevent people from simply walking onto the site and taking items at their leisure. It’s also the first signal that you take your security seriously.

While you’re installing the fence, be sure to consider adding some signage (and we’re not talking about a simple “Keep Out”). Much like visible construction site cameras, signs advertising the name of your security company can deter thieves from attempting to access the property.

Smaller tools and materials can be kept in locked storage containers when not in use, making it more difficult for thieves to grab and go.

While it’s not realistic to lock heavy machinery in storage containers or to remove the equipment from the jobsite every day, you can put simple, effective deterrents in place by parking equipment in a circle with other pieces (making it harder to remove without a coordinated effort) and removing keys and other small essentials that make the vehicle operate.

Light the Site

Dark is a thief’s best friend. Brightly lighting access points and other areas makes it easy to spot intruders, taking away their cover of darkness.

Strobe lights, alarms, and loudspeakers draw attention to wrong-doers and often send them packing.

Utilize Construction Site Security Cameras

Many construction sites span several acres, such as the Wohali Development in Coalville, Utah, which consists of 1,500 acres and has $5–6 million dollars in assets and equipment to protect. To have security guards constantly monitoring such a large site is unrealistic and extremely costly—unless that monitoring came from strategically placed security cameras.

Construction site cameras allow for 24/7 monitoring, with several cameras offering motion-detected alerts and deterrents.

Companies, like the Wohali Partners, that have implemented construction site security cameras are able to collect evidence in case of an incident, have access to progress time-lapse footage, and are able to access their live feed via desktop or mobile portal at any time.

The cameras act as a safe way to monitor the site and alert the authorities, who are much quicker to respond to a crime in progress than one that has already occurred.

As most construction sites have limited access to power and utilities, it’s important to choose construction site cameras that are solar-powered or have some other power source. Connection to the cloud via phone towers instead of reliance on Wi-Fi can also make a huge difference.

The Results of Increased Security

Much like the examples at the beginning of this article, Aspect Homes, a residential development company in Nevada, had struggles with theft at their sites, causing delays and costing thousands.

After working with LVT to bring in mobile security units, Aspect Homes has had a 50% decrease in trespassing. Even more impressive: Development sites with LVT Units have had zero thefts since the units were brought in.

“It was very effective,” said Mickey Stratton, the founder of Aspect Homes. “I’ve had no theft, and I know most of the buildings in the area are experiencing theft."

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