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The harsh reality is that construction sites and businesses are ripe for crime. Construction areas can be loaded with desirable heavy machinery, pricey power tools and top-notch appliances ready for installation—exactly what thieves are looking for. These are often assets that can’t be easily tracked and can be stolen and resold by thieves before an investigation into their whereabouts even begins. This is not to mention the threat of trespassers and vandals who can do quite a bit of damage themselves, leaving business owners to foot the bill for cleanup and repairs.

Unfortunately, the issue of theft in construction is here to stay. Which begs the question: Is enough being done to protect these sites and keep thieves and vandals out? While the quick answer is no, not enough is being done—there is hope. Tools and solutions exist for businesses to step up security and take on a proactive posture to deter crime before it happens. Before diving into some of them, let’s start by understanding how frequent this type of crime is and the impacts being felt across the country.


Each year, Pro-Vigil surveys business leaders across several vertical industries, including construction, for a report on the impact crime is having on them and what security strategies they’re leveraging. In this year’s survey, more than half of respondents came from the construction industry, and the results don’t lie: Crime on construction sites is a major problem.

Among the survey’s respondents, 66% of construction businesses said they experienced at least one physical security incident in 2022, while 29% believed the number of security incidents would increase in 2023. Additionally, nearly half reported they were more worried about crime than they had been a year ago.

It’s clear that crime is a serious problem facing construction businesses today—but what’s fueling it? While it’s difficult to pinpoint the primary reason why thieves are stepping up their assaults on construction, it’s clear that the world around us is having a direct impact. Construction leaders report that they believe the state of the economy and ongoing supply-chain issues are driving up crime. The state of the economy remains in limbo, and supply-chain issues that began during the pandemic have dragged on. Issues such as the surge in lumber prices may have eased a bit, but many materials are still in short supply or remain at elevated prices.

That means what is available is more valuable, and that added value is attractive to thieves. For commercial construction operations, where margins and budgets are already tight, leaders have to make an important decision: Step up security and invest in a solution, or don’t do anything and hope the losses from future incidents are manageable and built into the budget.


Not only is crime up, but not enough is being done to stop it. In Pro-Vigil’s “The State of Physical Security Entering 2023” report, 43% of those polled in construction said they haven’t changed their security strategy. Others have deployed new security methods, but they may not be choosing the right fit for their business. 

While adding video cameras and installing fencing remain among the top ways construction leaders are adjusting to the changing crime landscape, it’s important to note that the best security strategies include a combination of several solutions. This layered approach combines different tools to better deter and detect crime, including:

Fencing: While fences on their own can be cut through and bypassed by thieves, they establish a perimeter around a site or business and act as a first line of defense.

Proper lighting: Thieves work best under the cover of darkness. It benefits businesses to light up all areas of a worksite, taking away thieves’ ability to literally hide in the shadows. Solar-powered lights are a great option for remote sites or areas without easy electrical access.

Video surveillance: Today’s video-surveillance systems are more powerful than ever. High-definition cameras paired with tools like artificial intelligence can help business leaders track crime even when they’re not watching. These camera feeds often can be pulled up via computer or smartphone app, allowing construction leaders to check in on sites remotely—for security or business purposes.

Construction crime is a problem that isn’t going away soon, but the tools exist for businesses to take back their jobsites and enact a security strategy that covers all the bases. For those who feel overwhelmed or aren’t sure where to start, it helps to partner with a security expert who can help detect weak spots in your security coverage and come up with a plan to keep thieves out. 


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