Construction Theft and Vandalism: Why They’re Common

=Imagine yourself being a business owner or a construction contractor. You wake up one morning to heartbreaking news: someone stole your backhoe, the brand-new equipment that cost you over $100,000 to purchase. That’s not all. The thieves seemed to have taken their precious time, leaving various marks on the wall and around the site.

If this causes your knees to buckle, then it’s understandable. If you try to console yourself with “This is an isolated case,” well, you’re wrong. It might even be more common than you think. It then suggests that you need to take a more intensive precautionary measure, such as using a security camera trailer.

How Common Is Construction Theft and Vandalism?

In reality, it’s hard to get the official statistics. The process of monitoring is unlike that of the government. The tools and equipment used by the government need to be in a database. Every use also requires a log. Who obtained it? Was it ever returned? What’s the condition? Should these get lost due to theft, it’s much easier to trace.

With private construction firms, the monitoring procedure can be individual. In other words, it varies according to the business. The smaller the company is, the less likely it has a process, let alone a list of inventory. Between large and small firms, though, the former is more likely to suffer financially when it comes to theft. The latter is more vulnerable to vandalism.

When it comes to the actual costs, the National Equipment Register (NER) estimated the minimum is $300 million. However, it can go up to a billion dollars. Companies, meanwhile, can recover no more than 30% of the stolen equipment.

Why Is It Easy for Construction Thieves and Vandals?


There are multiple reasons. One of these is what analysts say “low risk, high return.” Many job sites in the country do not have excellent or enough security. There might be gaps in the fences, or the walls are easy to climb over. The location doesn’t have sufficient lighting. The equipment is mobile. All these make it easy for thieves and vandals to trespass.

Second, a construction site can have so many tools lying around. With hundreds of hammers, saws, and concrete materials, it’s difficult to detect immediately if there’s a theft. A lot of these thieves don’t work alone but rather by teams. Considering the haul available inside these sites, they are likely to rent or use a van or a truck, which can work as a disguise while they’re stealing. Meanwhile, the loot can have a high return in the market. A miter saw can have a price tag of over $150, for instance.

What Are Ideal Solutions?

One of the practical solutions is using a security camera managed by professionals. It involves using a motion-sensor camera that alerts a team who monitors your site 24/7. When something is suspicious, it immediately calls the police or responders who can check the area.

You also need an inventory management system that fits your business model. Most of all, learn to promote discipline and accountability in the site. Someone needs to take charge of every aspect of the project including materials and supplies.

You can never stop thieves and vandals from doing what they feel they’re out to do. What you can do is to make it difficult for them to get into your construction site. Use technology to secure your place. Create a process to keep track of the assets you have.

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