Construction sites are ripe for crime. Our State of Physical Security Entering 2023 survey found that crime on construction sites is still a major issue impacting the bottom line of businesses nationwide. 66% of those in the construction industry said they experienced at least one security incident in 2022, with 49% saying those incidents led to project delays.
Unfortunately, the same factors that make a traditional commercial or home build site attractive to thieves applies to utility projects. This means utilities need to focus on construction security just as conventional construction companies do.
Utilities = A Top Target
Regardless of industry, most utilities have ongoing construction projects. Electric, water, oil and gas, renewable energy and beyond: they all are regularly in development – and thieves take notice.
Construction sites are typically easy to access because they often lack a defined perimeter, and when fencing is installed, it’s usually temporary and easy for thieves and vandals to hop or cut through. And when work is not actively taking place, these sites often sit unwatched and unmanned.
In the case of utilities, this issue can create an even larger threat based on the nature of the project. An electrical substation, for example, could take two-to-three years to build while inspections and permits are sorted out. In that time, there may be weeks or months on end where no work takes place. Thieves keeping an eye on the project take notice and know exactly when to strike.
When talking about construction sites specific to utilities, thieves are not only looking to steal heavy pieces of equipment and machinery, but also things like tools, batteries, generators, and even the fuel inside of generators. These are all easy targets that can be stolen quickly and resold without a trace.
Additionally, thieves aren’t afraid to do damage, which could set project budgets and timelines back big time. We’ve seen instances where thieves will drive onto a substation construction site, hook chains up to the mesh grounding being laid, and drive off ripping up huge copper or aluminum webs and essentially nullifying all progress made. Of course, that grounding can be rebuilt, but time lost cannot be replaced. In the end, thieves are looking to recycle and sell metal scrap for a quick profit. Meanwhile, you’re left starting over.
Mobile Monitoring for Any Site
We mentioned earlier that utility construction sites can go unwatched for long stretches of time, opening up these sites to tremendous risk. Not only do you have to consider the threat of thieves, but also vandals who may be looking to do damage for a “kick,” and the safety of trespassers who may wander on to your site. Some businesses turn to guards to keep watch and patrol their construction projects, but the fact is, guards can’t be everywhere at once. These sites can be massive and no guard will be able to have every angle covered around the clock.
This is why Remote Video Monitoring (RVM) is such a powerful tool in the fight against crime. Pro-Vigil’s RVM solutions leverage high-definition surveillance cameras strategically placed around construction sites to make sure the most vulnerable areas are always being watched. A team of virtual guards is alerted when suspicious activity is detected, like someone walking onto the site in the middle of the night. A series of audio and visual deterrence features, like strobe lights and alarms, can then be activated to send would-be thieves running and the proper authorities can be contacted when necessary.
Concerned that construction sites may not have a reliable power source or internet connectivity to run surveillance cameras 24/7? That’s where Pro-Vigil’s mobile surveillance solutions come into play. Our mobile solutions are self-contained units that run off solar panels with no internet necessary. They include all of the same crime deterrence features as our fixed Pro-Vigil cameras, and can actually be moved around your site as construction progresses and security needs change. Unable to work on your site for a few weeks or months while dealing with red tape? No problem. Our mobile units can quickly be deployed to keep watch – and remain on guard once work resumes.
Utilities are critical infrastructure for millions of people across the country. Don’t let your construction project be knocked off track and off budget by thieves. Leverage video surveillance solutions like Pro-Vigil’s mobile offering to keep projects on track, keep services up and running, and provide the best service possible. Contact us today to learn how you can deploy these solutions to make an immediate security impact.