Jobsite thefts of tools, equipment and materials continues to be an issue plaguing the construction industry. Unattended construction sites are easy targets for thieves, especially those lacking adequate security measures. Heavy equipment, power and hand tools and materials such as copper are the most targeted items. According to the National Equipment Register (NER), heavy equipment theft has been on the rise the past couple of years with 11,625 thefts being reported to law enforcement in 2014.
The cost of being the victim of construction theft runs deeper than just the value of the items stolen. You also have to factor in the delays in work, the cost to replace materials and supplies, renting or replacing equipment and tools along with the increased insurance premiums you’ll have to pay going forward.
Check out these five high-tech ways to help combat and control theft at your jobsite. Implementing these systems into your security plan and antitheft programs can go a long way in deterring thieves from targeting your jobsite.
Geo-fencing & GPS Tracking
The ability to receive text or email alerts the moment a piece of equipment is moved off the jobsite or if the engine started up outside of work hours is a good way to thwart theft of your construction fleet. If your equipment already has a telematics system installed you should be using the features available to control theft.
Telematics systems uses GPS technology, monitoring sensors and onboard diagnostics to track location, performance and operation of equipment and report specific data points like working hours, fuel consumption, engine temperatures and idle times. The real-time data collected is sent via satellite or cell signal and can be accessed through a website or be sent to your smartphone as a text message.
Geo-fencing allows you to create a virtual perimeter around your construction site or within a specified area on the jobsite. During working hours geo-fences can be used as a safety feature, shutting down the engine if a piece of equipment is operated outside a designated area. After hours it can act as a security feature to notify you of unauthorized movement like when a thief is trying to make off with your equipment. GPS tracking allows you to easily locate and recover your stolen equipment.
More and more manufacturers are installing telematics systems as standard equipment on new machines. Most offer access to the data on their websites free for the first few years after purchasing new equipment. You should already be using telematics to better manage your fleet, improve job costing, reduce operating costs and better maintain your equipment. It makes sense to use the system for theft prevention since it can act as a deterrent by shutting down the engine when thieves try to drive your equipment offsite and as a recovery tool to locate stolen machines.
Highly visible security cameras act as a strong deterrent to would-be thieves at your construction site. Solar powered units with battery backups offer the flexibility of placing cameras wherever you need them without having to time them into an additional power source. You typically have the option to record continuous video or take time-lapse photos at scheduled intervals. Motion detection and infrared sensors, which measures changes in thermal activity, can be used to activate idle cameras and begin recording.
Security cameras can be equipped with Wi-Fi or cellular communication to transmit the video or images for cloud storage or for live monitoring through a web portal. The benefit of an internet connected camera means you can also get text alerts when a camera is activated by the motion or infrared sensors. This allows you to immediately notify the authorities when unauthorized access to your jobsite is detected. Internet enabled cameras also give you the freedom of accessing live feeds from virtually anywhere. Some models even allow to control the camera so you can pan, tilt and zoom in on different areas you are monitoring.
Camera technology continues to improve while prices continue to drop meaning you can find security camera systems that capture high resolution images for a reasonable price.
Jobsite security cameras can also serve a dual purpose. Sure, they’re great for keeping an eye on the site when everyone’s gone home for the day, but you can also use them during working hours. They are a great tool for monitoring workers for safety and productivity and also for recording progress on a project. Time-lapse videos can edited and used as to market your construction company. Solar powered cameras equipped with infrared sensors and built in Wi-Fi or cellular are great options for construction firms because they are self-contained units that can be easily deployed and mounted throughout the jobsite.