The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates as much as $1 billion in metals and equipment is stolen from construction sites each year. And a 2009-2011 report by the NICB revealed that metal theft claims jumped 81 percent over numbers from 2006-2008, an increase driven by the economic downturn and the rising price of base metals.
Thieves are looking for more than metals. Equipment theft is also a significant threat to contractors and subs. According to the NCIB, in 2010 there were 13,374 reports of heavy equipment theft, valued at around $400 million, of which only 19 percent was recovered. This year, 43 percent of thefts were reported in just five states, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Secure Your Site
Thefts can delay construction projects by weeks and cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue. In extreme cases, contracts can be lost. There are measures you can take to mitigate theft at the job site.
A quality-built portable storage container, a steel-walled mobile office with security bars over the windows like the ModSpace HQ and a well-lit construction site are your best defense against theft. You can go further with perimeter fences, alarm systems, security cameras and after-hours security personnel. Local law enforcement may be willing to drive by your site at night.
Additional Security Measures
Keep a record of equipment serial numbers, take an inventory of equipment and materials, and make sure everything is accounted for at the end of each day. This is especially important when temperatures are warm. NCIB confirms that more thefts occur in hotter states and during summer months. Finally, check the National Equipment Register (NER) website for updates on theft hotspots around the country.
Construction site theft is a preventable problem. With a minimal investment and conscientious effort, you can avoid losses and project delays.