Security Trailers Can Save Your Margin
Stealing heavy equipment is big business in the United States. The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimated that the value of tools, materials, and heavy construction equipment stolen from construction sites in 2001 was nearly $1 billion, and that number has certainly risen since then. Research has shown that, on average, for each $1 million of work performed by a construction company, it will suffer roughly $1,600 in losses, with 82% of that figure being cause by theft from the worksite.
Only around 7% of this stolen equipment is ever recovered, driving up insurance premiums and
tightening profit margins at a time when many firms within the construction industry are already fighting for financial survival.
Thieves enjoy big profit margins on tractors, backhoes, skid steers, air compressors, generators and other heavy construction equipment. Such equipment is easy to steal from jobsites and just as easy to resell in a thriving black market. Some stolen equipment is quickly shipped overseas from port cities such as Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami, disappearing into the liquid economies of the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa.
Universal keys for many machines make it easy for thieves to start up mobile equipment and drive it away. Although insurance companies and common sense demand that heavy equipment owners take reasonable precautions, with a poor economy and easy temptation, perhaps a more intensive and inclusive system is necessary for effective construction site security.
Almost as big a problem as theft is vandalism. Some insurance companies estimate that vandalism accounts for as much as 22% of all equipment and machinery losses from job sites. Expensive office equipment such as computers, faxes, and copiers are also at risk, and although not often considered, confidential business information such as payroll data, strategic corporate data such as planned future ventures, and employees’ personal information (names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, etc.) also require protection.
Are Simple Deterrents the Solution?
There are obvious and simple deterrents that owners and foremen can take to hinder opportunity thieves and vandals, including site fencing, perimeter lighting, random patrolling guards, and locking or tying down equipment after hours. Although these low technology deterrents can all contribute to job site security, determined and organized thieves have equally low tech methods of bypassing these systems, such as smashing a pickup or flatbed truck through a chain link fence, disabling or ignoring lighting, disarming and threatening guards, shooting or poisoning dogs, and cutting locks.
Even if a construction site isn’t attacked in that manner, there remains the problem of selecting a reliable security company and ensuring their employees are doing their jobs. Armed guards and ugly dogs carry a liability issue, and should injuries happen to innocent bystanders during a break-in attempt, the construction company that hired the firm could be named as a co-defendant in any resulting lawsuit.
A Better Solution
A more high tech and potentially comprehensive solution that has been introduced by Affordable Video Surveillance Systems of Redding, California bundles state-of-the-art surveillance equipment along with an Internet connection onto a simple and mobile Video Security Trailer, offering companies greater site safety with an affordable price tag.
With the Video Security Trailer in operation, sensitive outdoor motion detectors are monitoring the site at a 360° radius as well as straight down, thus protecting the site and the trailer itself at the same time. These motion detectors are linked to a simple and sturdy alert system that includes three 150-watt halogen flood lights and dual loudspeakers to alert intruders they have entered a secured space and are being recorded. Further protection for the Video Security Trailer and therefore the site itself can be achieved through simply removing the tires and towing tongue once it’s in place.
Four digital video recorder cameras are included with the Video Security Trailer—a modular color PTZ camera with 27x zoom capability, and three black-and-white cameras that encircle the array, providing complete coverage of the site. The final touch for the system is a microwave Internet connection, allowing for remote construction site surveillance by the company owner, foreman, or monitoring security company.
Research shows that often, thieves will avoid a job site if they cannot break in, load the equipment, and leave within five to ten minutes without substantial risk of identification or capture. By detecting unauthorized activity, sounding the alarm, and recording the thieves’ identity and possibly vehicle registration, the Video Security Trailer has proven itself effective in providing added security and safety for job sites, material storage areas, and heavy equipment and tools left onsite over weekends and down times.