How to Prevent Theft at Your Construction Site


Construction site thefts continue to be a problem for site managers and stakeholders. Tools, equipment, and materials that remain improperly secured are easy targets for thieves.

Roughly 50% of equipment stolen from construction and commercial sites is less than five years old. The top five pieces of large equipment taken from construction sites are:

  • Tractor
  • Loader
  • Mower
  • Generator

Yet, it isn’t just the loss of equipment that financially impacts construction sites. You’ll have to factor in work delays and the cost of higher premiums when you report the theft to your insurance company. Not to mention the time it will take to replace the stolen equipment.

While you cannot prevent all thefts, there are steps you can take to protect your field operation assets. You must implement security plans and incorporate antitheft measures at construction sites.

7 Tips to Prevent Theft at Construction Sites

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), construction equipment theft accounts for around $1 billion of lost asset value annually with a mere 23% of stolen equipment being successfully recovered. The financial implications on the company and the project are immense and difficult to recover from.

If you are looking for ways to combat asset theft from field operations and protect your investments, we have gathered valuable tips on how to prevent theft at construction sites.

1. Set Up Security Cameras

Investing in security cameras helps to deter crime and is one of the most common forms of security measures people take to protect their assets. It’s so popular that security experts forecast the video surveillance market size to increase to nearly $63 billion.

You can purchase security cameras equipped with cellular communication or Wi-Fi to transmit the images. They capture video and store it on cloud-based platforms. You can also stream footage live, and monitor your construction sites through a web portal.

2. Set Physical Barriers

Thieves often look for opportunities to take action in areas with little resistance or obstructions. Construction sites with physical barriers make it more difficult for potential thieves to walk onto the site and remove the equipment.

If your site is open without fencing or walls, criminals can easily get in and out, and their activity goes undetected. Reduce these crimes of opportunity by setting physical barriers between them and your construction assets.

Physical barriers can include:

  • Fencing or walls with barbed wire
  • Strong locks or padlocks
  • Effective lighting with motion sensors
  • Security signs (especially ones that let people know you have security cameras)
  • Security officers to maintain a consistent presence

3. Install Keyless Entries and Fuel Cut-Offs

Equipment manufacturers will install ignitions throughout their entire product line. That means every key cut will work in all systems.

The advantage is that operators don’t have to scramble to find equipment keys; they only need one of the several keys available on-site. It also makes it easier if a machine requires a replacement key.

The disadvantage is that thieves can quickly search the internet to obtain a key for your equipment. The solution is to install keyless systems that require a PIN.

Fuel cut-offs are another antitheft method you can use along with the keyless ignitions. When operators are done using the equipment, you can activate a mechanism that cuts off the fuel. Then, it takes a series of steps that the operator must perform to unlock the equipment before operating it again.

4. Utilize Drone Surveillance

More than 2.5 million drones surveil parts of the United States. The government deploys surveillance drones for military and homeland security defenses.

Drones are effective as they provide you with heightened security and an aerial view of your operations. The other advantage is that thieves cannot tamper with them the way they can with fixed security cameras. In addition, you can store the video and images in the same methods as their stationary counterparts.

5. Purchase Portable Storage Sheds

Another security measure to prevent construction theft is using utility and storage sheds. You can purchase them in various sizes and secure everything from small tools to larger equipment and even materials for the job. Secure them with industrial-strength padlocks or a security keypad.

6. Integrate a GPS Chip for Tools

A tool GPS tracking system allows you to track and trace your construction equipment anywhere in the world. All you need to do is install GPS tracking devices.

Combine these GPS chips with a cloud-based platform, and these tracking devices can use global satellites to provide complete visibility of all your assets. You can mount GPS chips discreetly anywhere on your equipment and receive notifications to locate lost or stolen equipment.

7. Leverage Construction Equipment Tracking Software

Pairing your GPS chips with construction equipment tracking software will ensure you can track and trace your construction site assets. Optimize field operations, reduce insurance premiums, and give yourself peace of mind knowing your job sites are secure.

Tracking all your equipment, whether owned, rented, or provided by a third party, is a surefire way to not only prevent theft, but identify it right away if it occurs. Securing your equipment and vehicles with track and trace solutions enables you to gain full control over your operations.

The Geoforce Solution for Preventing Construction Site Theft

There is no single solution to prevent theft at a construction site. You’ll want to take a holistic approach to site security. The most effective way, however, is to place a GPS device for assets on each of your instruments.

If you fit your equipment with a tool GPS tracking system, you’ll know when it has left the worksite. This way, you can assist authorities in recovering and locating your assets should they get stolen.

At Geoforce, we have been in the business of construction site security since 2007. We understand the importance of securing assets in field operations and combine cloud-based software with GPS tracking devices to help you secure your assets.

To learn more about how to prevent theft at construction sites, get a quote and allow our GPS units to do the work.