In April, Family Handyman reported the delay (and cancelation) of many construction projects during the pandemic. Without a proper construction security plan, these abandoned sites are completely vulnerable to criminal mischief. For construction site managers, the potential loss of valuable equipment, copper pipes, and more, added worry in just a few short months.
Properly securing your construction site is of paramount importance. This article will discuss securing your site and how smart security cameras can help you identify and respond to real risk versus a false alarm.
Construction Site Theft — A Growing Problem
The latest reports show massive losses each year due to equipment theft at construction sites around the nation. August is the top month for losses, from tools to wheeled and tracked loaders. The annual cost to construction firms is somewhere between $300 million to $1 billion. Less than 25% of this stolen merchandise is ever recovered. You can count on these numbers to increase; they’ve been going up by at least 10% each year since 1996 with no end in sight.
Theft costs money. Project delays cost money. Replacing and renting equipment — more money. Preventing theft on your construction site is critical, but the reports show we’re nowhere near where we want to be in terms of success. The leading causes of construction site theft are all preventable:
- Lack of product identification systems.
- Multiple equipment sharing the same key.
- Open cabs allowing easy access.
- Poor or no overall job site security.
- Unsecured job sites, especially at night and on the weekends, or, for example, during a global pandemic.
So how can we prevent theft and vandalism? When planning out the best construction security plan, you should always consider these methods:
- FENCES & SECURITY GUARDS: Construction Executive suggests a perimeter barrier that could include security guards. While fencing is standard and often required for large projects, a small construction firm would be unlikely to have costly live security presence on-site.
- KEYS & TRACKING: They also suggest re-keying equipment to avoid shared keys, and adding GPS tracking to heavy equipment. Again, these could be cost-prohibitive for smaller firms.
- LIGHTING: Keeping a job site well-lit, even during a work shutdown, is one way to mitigate risk.
- LOCK IT UP: Avoid keeping excess supplies on-site, and make sure all equipment is secure when you leave.
- SECURITY CAMERAS: Job site security cameras can lessen the chance for thieves to get away undetected. They can also serve as a deterrent to thieves looking for an easy mark.
According to Construction Exec: “Closed Circuit Television positioned around the job sites will assist in identifying and prosecuting trespassers and theft suspects. CCTV will also assist the general contractor in monitoring employee activities. DVR devices should be maintained, with off-site video storage backup.”
If you haven’t looked into security cameras for your construction security plan recently, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. The latest technologies and construction site security systems can alert you to specific types of activity, while giving you full, real-time access to the property from your smartphone.
Smart Video for Construction Site Security
Artificial intelligence (AI) cameras use computer algorithms that analyze huge amounts of real-time data. They can be programmed to detect the level of threat, and take action quickly in ways that, formerly, only humans could. These smart cameras can:
- Use solar panels and wireless communication to create robust security, even on empty, undeveloped land.
- They have night recording capabilities – perfect for unlit areas.
- The equipment is weatherproofed and built for outdoor use.
- They offer HD footage for clear close-ups.
- The cameras can be connected either to a DVR for recording or to the Internet to allow real-time monitoring.
Consider these new, smarter cameras like a virtual guard system that can keep the construction site safe even when you’re not there.
Smart cameras offer some incredible features beyond security that older analog construction site security systems simply can’t handle:
- Motion detection
These cameras can tell the difference between a stray cat and a human on your job site. You can program these tools to trigger an alarm by specific alert patterns. The alarm can set off a series of actions in response to a detection alert, like triggering deterrence or notifying police.
- Defocus alerts
You can program the camera to react to an image blur caused by tampering, intentional camera rotation, or defocusing of the lens.
- Intrusion detection
This can be set to perform certain functions if the camera detects people, vehicles, or other objects entering or loitering in a pre-set area. You can even set the amount of time someone must be in the area before the alert goes off. A smart camera can also be set to alert when someone exits an area.
- Boundary detection
Line crossing detection can constantly monitor the edge of properties with a pre-determined virtual line that you establish. You can set the camera to trigger specific alerts when someone or something crosses that line. You can also differentiate between someone entering or leaving a property. Alternatively, set the camera to not trigger a motion alert if someone is visible but outside the fence or property line.
- Smart search
Remember the old analog days where you’d have to fast forward through the entire CCTV recording to find the video snippet you needed? Not anymore. You can program a smart camera to tag images based on your parameters so you can search for things like “man wearing a green shirt.”
Construction site theft is a billion-dollar problem, and it’s growing. In today’s high-risk environment, construction site managers need to up the ante on criminals by leveraging the best technology for a smarter construction security plan.
Today’s smart cameras can detect and deter crime and give you 24/7 virtual access to your site. Pro-Vigil is a national leader in smart video security solutions. We offer affordable solutions for companies seeking to mitigate their security risk. Contact us today.