2022-05-06

Tool theft out of control

Around £70 million worth of construction equipment is stolen every year in the UK. In the US the figure is estimated to be between $300 million to 1 billion. Ireland reports that equipment worth more than €6 million is lots every year. And due to many unreported thefts, the figures are estimated to be much larger.

The site is dark and just as most workplaces, empty after a hard day’s work. On the other side of the temporary fence, there’s construction equipment, machinery and materials waiting to be used the coming day. Without lights, camera surveillance and people, this scene is inviting to perpetrators looking for an easy heist.

And they will choose what’s most valuable and least risky. Nine times out of ten, they will look to steal equipment such as hand tools and power tools. They’re easy to grab and carry and can easily be sold.

In the way is a container where the gear is kept. Without proper locks, lights and cameras, the perpetrators can quickly force the container open and leave the scene in minutes. Either by cutting the lock open, or by cutting a hole in the container itself.

Invisible costs.

In the UK in 2020, the total cost of stolen equipment and vandalism at construction sites is estimated to be £800 million. This figure includes the cost of hiring new equipment to replace what was stolen, before contractors can buy new equipment. It also takes downtime into account, which often follows a theft.

Different modus operandi.

In some countries, tools and equipment are brought home after the workday. Other countries lock valuable equipment inside containers for storage. Unfortunately, statistics from different countries show that efforts to ward off thefts often leave much to wish for.

It’s uncommon to use purpose-built security containers, and instead rely on shipping containers or other solutions that simply aren’t secure enough. The big difference is that a security container is constructed from the beginning to be extremely difficult to breach. It features heavy locks guarded by protection from bolt cutters, alarms and security wall that are tough to cut open with power tools.

Light it up.

With time and comfort to work undisturbed, most perimeters can be breached. That’s why a well-lit site with camera surveillance will deter many from having a go in the first place. With a security container, they probably won’t even think of it. It’s also a good idea to mark your tools and equipment, and let people know you have through a sign. The marking makes the gear less valuable as they’re harder to sell and easier to track down.

In the US, construction companies have been urged to tighten security due to the massive costs that equipment theft have led to. Perpetrators don’t only know that construction sites hold great value in tools and equipment that can often be easily stolen. Many target them specifically for that reason and there’s fear this wave of crime will keep rising.

The security container

We supply our anti-cut panels to security containers, but that’s far from all the anti-theft features that these containers possess. They have heavy-duty padlocks, can be fitted with alarms and are designed to withstand a wide range of attempts to breach them.

Compared e.g. a shipping container with doors secured with a padlock, the security container offers a much higher level of security. Its walls are fortified and fitted with products such as ours to withstand power-tool attacks. The lock can’t simply be accessed with a bolt cutter or power tool.

Together with other measures described in this article, investing in a security container will keep you out of the troublesome statistics we’ve mentioned.

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Check out the following links for more tips and knowledge about equipment theft and how to avoid it: