4 Ways to Mitigate the Top Construction Security Risks

Posted by Sudesh Jangalee on February 10, 2022

One of the most important things in the construction industry is to create a plan and implement controls to lower the risk of injuries and theft. Safety has always been a high priority and a critical part of construction security. However, supply chain failures, mounting material costs, and a fluctuating workforce increase the need for mitigating construction security risks.

Several factors are heavily at play today that greatly amplify the need to mitigate risk.

Cargo Theft Is Climbing

Between January and September 2021, companies reported about $45 million in cargo theft according to a CBS News report. This will most likely exceed the $49 million for the year of 2019 and come close to matching the $68 million in cargo theft in 2020.

CargoNet's Keith Lewis states that cargo theft will most likely not let up for a few years. Additionally, it turns out a lot of cargo theft is happening with parked trucks. Savvy thieves go after parked trucks because they know it will make it harder for the driver to realize there has been a theft. Because of this, the company often doesn't know exactly where the theft occurred with a truck route having multiple stops in different cities.

Since the company has no idea of the location of the theft, they don't know which law enforcement to contact and make a report. That's one reason cargo theft is heavily underreported. Other reasons are the fear of rising insurance premiums, bad publicity, and there's not one single system for tracking these types of theft.

Construction Site Thefts Become More Dangerous

There has been a giant increase in construction site burglary. One of the contributing factors is the cost of materials like lumber multiplying. Thieves seek out lumber from construction sites so they can resell it for good money.

Some of these criminals are violent and dangerous. At a construction site in Colorado Springs, a police officer patrolling the area spotted suspects. To stop them, the police officer pulled up behind the crook's vehicle. Instead of speeding away, the driver forced his truck into the police vehicle causing damage to both vehicles.

A construction site company owner said that the criminals notice him. Yet, this doesn't stop them from pilfering from his construction site. They were carrying weapons and making threats. It's a big problem as KOAA News reports construction companies in Colorado have lost $1.04 million from construction site thefts in 2021. It also indicates that El Paso, Texas, has more than 100 similar cases with half a million in losses.

The most common cause of theft on construction sites is due to "security negligence" according to Propmodo. This means they don't have adequate construction site security as well as subpar lighting.

Catalytic Converter Thefts Are Soaring

As if construction site thefts aren't enough, there is a new kind of theft that's causing problems on construction sites that cost thousands of dollars. KOAA recounts what happens at a construction site and includes a video. In a home video from a doorbell camera, you can hear the sound of a tool that's removing a catalytic converter from trucks. This causes the vehicle to become undrivable.

Catalytic converter theft is such a serious problem that many news networks have done a story on it. It's not surprising when you learn the National Insurance Crime Bureau reveals there was an average of only 108 catalytic converter thefts per month in 2018. Compare that to 2020 in which the number of stolen converters blew up to an average of 1,203. It didn't show signs of slowing down by the end of 2021.

The sheer numbers of catalytic converter theft have created a problematic shortage of replacement parts. That's why the price for metals on the market has skyrocketed. A vehicle can still be drivable after a catalytic converter theft. In some cases, the criminals have totaled the vehicle. It's critical to take steps to prevent this from happening.

How to Mitigate Construction Security Risks

You can do all the right things to mitigate construction security risks, but all it takes is one worker making a mistake or letting their guard down to erase all the hard work to mitigate risks. Additionally, construction companies have a responsibility to create a safe jobsite and reduce risk. Here are the top four ways to mitigate construction security risk.

1. Invest in proper lighting

Dimly lit construction sites attract criminals as explained in the Propmodo story. One of the cheapest, fastest, and most effective options for security is proper lighting. When no one is on the construction site, lights act as a deterrent. It also makes it harder for criminals to hide when they vandalize or steal. When they see bright lighting, they find another property or business to raid.

There are a lot of factors to review when it comes to effective lighting. It's not about brightness. You need to select the right color and hue. Contact a security expert who can do an evaluation of your construction site and make recommendations for lighting.

2. Construct a fence around the perimeter of the construction site

It may or may not be possible to put up a fence around the construction site. If you can, set it up to create only one entry point. This will reduce the risk of trespassing and you'll have greater control over who comes and goes on the construction site including deliveries and pick-ups.

To help prevent trespassers from climbing or cutting the fence, you can add another barrier by using barbed wires. The more difficult you make it for suspects to get on the construction site, the more likely they will move on to another one with fewer obstacles.

3. Add Remote video surveillance

When it comes to remote video surveillance, the first thing most people think of is security. But it has the ability to do much more than that especially when you incorporate video analytics. This levels up security cameras from being a reactive security tool into a proactive one that also helps with productivity and efficiency.

Plain security cameras can only watch the scene. They may even capture everything in recordings. Someone has to monitor all the camera views. When you don't have video analytics, it's very easy for the person observing the cameras to miss a potential problem.

Adding video analytics to a video surveillance system essentially gives it a brain. The security company enters many possible scenarios for the analytics to search until it finds a match. These scenarios help the security cameras to analyze what it observes and what to do when a specific scenario happens.

The programming also tells the video surveillance system what to ignore. This could be flying debris like shopping bags and animals. This reduces false alarms. As soon as it identifies a suspicious person or potential problem, it notifies the trained monitoring operator. The human reviews the situation and takes action based on what's happening.

The trained monitoring operators are not on the construction site. They watch from another location miles away from the site. How can someone offsite help deter crime and prevent damage? Say there's an intruder approaching the construction site from outside of the perimeter. The monitoring operator will use audio speaker to issue a warning to the suspect. While tracking the person's movements, the monitoring operator can contact law enforcement.

As the operator stays on top of the scene, the police will head to the construction site. Since the operator provided video verification, the police typically respond much faster than they would with a traditional security system.

Video surveillance with remote monitoring will help mitigate your construction security risks. At the same time, it could maximize safety and security. You could see significant time and cost savings as the system will help foil crime, prevent injuries, and lower liability.

The security camera system records and saves everything it sees. It can give you the proof you need to make your case in a liability lawsuit or provide evidence of the crime. Additionally, a lot of companies use security camera footage for training. It's a great way to visually show the right and wrong ways to do tasks.

4. Integrate an Access Control System

You'll close a lot of security gaps when you integrate an access control system with video surveillance. The more layers you have in your security, the harder it will be to break through them. Moreover, assimilating the two security systems simplifies security. For example, the two work together to track the driver from gate entry to exit on the construction site.

An integrated security system can match the time stamp of a person's entry on the access control system with the associated video. It saves a lot of time in finding the video. Integrated security simplifies reporting and security management while strengthening security.

An integrated security system may have any of these:

  • Access control system
  • Remote monitoring
  • Video surveillance
  • Audio warning speaker
  • Video review and analysis

Additionally, combining remote video surveillance and access control offers more security advantages for a fraction of the cost of most typical security solutions including security guards. When you choose video surveillance that works seamlessly with an access control system, you'll help boost security and obtain a fast ROI.

A lot occurs on a construction site. It's hard to watch over it all with the many security and safety challenges. Implementing lighting, fencing, video surveillance, and access control will help protect your assets and ensure everyone feels safer.

To learn more about construction security, pick up the construction security and safety best practices guide. This construction security guide discusses industry challenges and offers solutions. If you'd like to know more, feel free to contact us.

Posted in: Crime Prevention, Video Security Systems, Security Guards & Savings, Security Tips, Video Monitoring