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How to Prevent Building Supply Theft

Posted by Mark Mariotti on Oct 6, 2022

One person was arrested for building supply theft for stealing thousands of dollars of building supplies from two businesses in Maine according to WGME. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, three men allegedly stole more than $300,000 worth of materials from a building supply company. That’s not the worst of it. The scary part is that they were employees as reported in a LancasterOnline story.

Apparently, they had been stealing since 2013. They’d take some of the materials to an auction center. How did they pull this off without the company noticing the losses? The suspects manipulated the inventory system. Eventually, another employee caught on when they spotted the inventory shortages.

In a CTV News story, a Nova Scotia lumber distributor reveals he had been robbed three times in one year. He describes how the crooks bypassed his security system by taking the gates off the hinges. It was the first sign he noticed about the robbery.

ABC4 news quotes a building supply company in Salt Lake City claiming someone stole a fully loaded 10-wheeler lumber truck worth $200,000. Apparently, the suspect cut the gate lock to enter the lumber yard and hot-wired the truck.

Why Building Supply Thefts Happen

These aren’t isolated incidents. The reality is that building supply theft is growing. Search for it and you’ll get many results of news reports. What’s causing the increase in building supply theft?

It’s the same old story. Economics 101, due to the supply chain snarls and inflation driving up the costs of materials. Building supplies and materials have seen the largest price increase in history.

The Associated General Contractors of America has been tracking the cost of building materials for 35 years. The AGC says the industry has experienced the highest ever monthly and yearly increases. As a result, AGC issued a construction inflation alert. With the higher prices, it attracts thieves because they know they can get good money when reselling stolen goods.

So, it’s no surprise to learn the high lumber prices have led to the creation of a black market for materials per Business Insider. It turns out an underground lumber market is driving up lumber thefts at construction sites and lumber yards.

While data on building supply theft is difficult to find, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) tells Business Insider that they’ve heard about many lumber heists.

A Fort Worth Star Telegram article tells the story of offenders using flatbed trucks to steal lumber from construction sites. The story indicates the people involved in the building supply theft may be construction workers who work for subcontractors. One company alone has had more than $100,000 worth of building supplies taken.

The story confirms the growing lumber prices are likely driving the increase in building supply theft. What’s scary is that Dallas-Fort Worth’s transportation hub was in danger of a potential railroad strike. Thankfully, they arrived at a last-minute deal. If the strike had occurred, it would have done serious damage to an already limping supply chain.

Building supply prices have come down some, but they’re not close to pre-pandemic levels. The Fort Worth police recommend builders install security cameras at construction sites to deter theft.

How to Help Prevent Building Supply Theft

Security cameras are a good start in helping deter building supply theft. The technology has helped the Houston police arrest four people who swiped equipment including one van, two trucks, and lawn equipment worth $400,000.

The video recording shows the suspects using bolt cutters to break into a business and enter the property. These brazen crooks took their sweet time as they stayed on the property for several hours. They loaded two flatbeds with a stolen pressure washer, air compressor, edgers, lawnmowers, and more. The intruders could have potentially been caught if the business had video surveillance that included remote monitoring.

Thieves are becoming brazen. More than ever, employees need to stay away from them to avoid putting their lives at risk. Thankfully, these criminals did not find a sleeping employee nearby.

Unlike most typical security technologies, live video surveillance takes a proactive approach to security. Your business and building supplies can have eyes on them around the clock to make sure everything stays put. You won’t need to assign people to guard your supplies or put them in danger.

That’s because the trained human monitoring operators can watch over your business and building supplies from a remote location. Their lives are never at risk. Since they’re in a safe location, they have one job and that’s to help prevent theft. Their attention isn’t split between their duties in your business and video monitoring.

Monitoring security cameras for hours can be a monotonous activity. That’s why the trained monitoring operators have help from video analytics. This technology can watch for suspicious activity in real-time. Together, they can help guard your business and building supplies. As soon as a problem pops up, they can take action.

What action they take depends on the scenario. They could issue a warning over an onsite speaker. If this doesn’t stop the brazen thieves, then the operator could call the police while giving them updates. Everything is recorded regardless of what’s happening on the property. If you find out about something days after it occurs, you can have the analysts search to find the video and share it with you.

As you interview video surveillance companies, here’s a list of best questions to ask a security company to help you in your efforts. As you narrow the list, ask to see their security videos.

Why Use Stealth Monitoring to Help Deter Building Supply Theft?

In doing your research on security cameras with remote monitoring, add Stealth Monitoring to the list of vendors. You have a choice of many security options. Stealth’s security specialists can review your business and budget requirements to design a customized security solution that will help deter building supply theft. This includes live monitoring of your entire property and your most expensive assets.

Your business could save a lot of money with an investment in live video surveillance technologies. In addition to increasing your chances of deterring building supply theft, you can cut your risk for theft. This could potentially lower insurance premiums. Many Stealth clients share they’ve achieved a quick ROI. Some even report seeing an increase in their revenues.

Here are some benefits of Stealth video surveillance with remote monitoring:

  • Maximized security: The blending of video analytics, trained monitoring operators, security cameras, audio speakers, and monitoring help fortify security and deter crime.
  • 24/7 monitoring: You won’t need any onsite employees to watch over your building supplies and other assets. That’s the monitoring operators’ job. Their focus is completely on monitoring and responding.
  • Liability protection: The recordings can give you the evidence you need for insurance claims and liability lawsuits that are hard to win without video.
  • Faster response times: Unlike standard security systems, trained monitoring operators can help spot something before and as it happens. They can warn the intruders and then contact law enforcement, providing updates in real-time. Stealth has relationships with police departments across the U.S. and Canada. When emergency personnel receives a call from Stealth, they know there’s a problem and respond right away.

Stealth Monitoring clients gain many advantages in using the security company’s video surveillance and monitoring services. As previously mentioned, Stealth has offices across the U.S. and Canada. This allows the company to build strong partnerships with local police departments in those two countries. Stealth clients profit from these relations because emergency services tend to react quickly knowing Stealth is a reliable source because of video verification.

The other advantage of working with Stealth is that the company has experience working with multiple industries including office buildings, construction, scrap metal and recycling, and more. The most effective security setup varies by industry and location.

As the manager or owner of the business, you are responsible for ensuring everyone’s safety when they are on your property. Trained monitoring operators do more than watch for suspicious activity. They can also report any potential hazards they spot.

Moreover, with the worker shortage, you may have fewer people who can help watch for problems. Video surveillance can fill that gap. In addition, a study from UNC Charlotte has found that more than 80 percent of criminals check for visible security systems such as video surveillance or an alarm prior to breaking in. Therefore, live video surveillance can be one of the most effective crime deterrents and it could deliver a fast ROI.

Your customized solution can optimize your security while keeping costs as low as possible. A security specialist will ask questions to understand your needs. Then, they can design a security system that provides what you need without any extras.

Security camera and surveillance technology change all the time. It’s getting less expensive, more efficient, and more effective. Experienced security companies like Stealth have the resources to deliver on your requirements.

To learn more about remote video surveillance and how this proactive security solution can prevent crime, Check out this free guide on Remote Video Surveillance: More Than Just Catching Criminals. Ready to lower your liability and risk and save on costs? Contact us today.