5 Best Ways to Reduce Construction Equipment Theft

reduce construction equipment theft using an organized approach
Construction equipment theft is heaviest in Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky, according to the 2014 Verisk Theft Report. Reduce construction equipment theft by taking some well planned steps. (Copyright: cookelma / 123RF Stock Photo)

To reduce construction equipment theft you need to have a plan. Here’s the background on equipment thefts and a step-by-step approach for avoiding them.

By James White

It’s no secret that the success of large construction projects is dependent on the proper use, storage and upkeep of your equipment and resources. A work site is an easy target for construction equipment theft. And, as the National Equipment Register (NER) reports, only a small percentage, about 21% to 23 % of this stolen equipment is ever found.

The monetary loss of this machinery has financial consequences in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with the average loss being $46,273.

But, there are several steps you can take to reduce construction equipment theft. While nothing is ever guaranteed to completely prevent theft, these five tips can help you formulate good habits, enabling you to be constantly thorough and vigilant this coming year and into the future.

1. Begin With Site Security

First and foremost, you must maintain a secure work site — both during and after working hours. Have the proper locks in place, as well as durable chain-link fencing and even barb-wire —  should you deem it necessary for your location.

Setting up an alarm system and/or video surveillance to monitor the site can also help reduce construction equipment theft, as well as material and other thefts. Reinforce these deterrent efforts with well-placed signage, clearly denoting your security precautions. You can also control access with a limited number of keys to entrances. For example, allowing only supervisors to have keys will help you keep track of who does and doesn’t have direct access.

2. Keep the Site Well Lit

None of your locks, alarms or fences will be very effective without backing them up with proper security lighting for your site. Lighting is an easy, low-cost investment, and it will most likely be the best deterrent for theft.

Make sure to check the lights regularly via spot inspections and routine perimeter checks.

3. Know Your Vehicle Inventory

Keep accurate and up-to-date records of every piece of equipment you have on-hand at the work-site. This might seem like a tedious task, but the detailed information you have on your vehicles, including GPS tracking, will increase your odds of recovery if any of your equipment is ever stolen.

4. Be Aware of the Latest Technologies

Today’s market has many technological advantages to offer. Keyless ignition that requires a personal identification number to start the vehicle, and real-time tracking of your equipment inventory are a couple that will help reduce construction equipment theft. These can be especially useful for any work vehicles that are left on-site or are in transit.

It is also important to know what is currently out there if you are considering purchasing any used pieces of equipment. You need to know what you will get — as well as what you won’t —and so use current technologies to seek out reliable sources when purchasing previously-owned machinery.

5. Understand the Risk of Where You Are and What You Have

You need to be aware of what environment you will be working in and what assets during your construction project will be at the highest risk. Theft and abuse rates vary from state to state, as do the specific types of equipment that are targeted.

You can find many helpful statistics with clearly illustrated numbers and graphs in the 2014 report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to help you understand and mitigate as much risk as possible.

You can never be too prepared to ensure the assets of your construction company stay secure. Take these tips and develop a checklist you can use each time you prepare a new work site. In doing so, you’ll cover both difficult and simple (but necessary) tasks that will never go over-looked. You’ll also create a solid assessment framework for you to build on in the future as you protect your investments.

James White is an experienced home improvement blogger and construction worker. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Construction Today, EHS Today, and Building Blok. James is involved in promoting the ideas of sustainable building and construction safety. And, when he’s not saving the planet through his blogging, James revels in exploring the latest developments in the construction and manufacturing industries, its history, its advancements, and where we will be tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “5 Best Ways to Reduce Construction Equipment Theft”

  1. Theft in construction sites has become a big issues, we had a 5 system installation in a building in a high risk area. We locked all doors and gates, thieves stole 3 condensers (air conditioners). We had to hire a private security guard to watch job site for 4 nights. Expensive.

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