Theft at Construction Sites
The Shawnee Police Department held a meeting on June 30 regarding the problem of theft at construction sites. The city has seen an increase in the number of reported thefts in the past several months and wants to work proactively with builders to stop the crimes as much as possible. Representatives from other municipalities attended the meeting as well, including police from Kansas City Kansas, Overland Park, Lenexa, and Johnson County.
Deputy Chief Doug Orbin stated that the Shawnee Police Department has taken on extra patrols in areas of high activity, but that it is difficult to address such a large problem with limited resources and manpower. Heavy equipment, materials, hand and power tools, and appliances are often easily accessible – with lumber and siding being among the most common targets.
The police department recommended various preventative strategies for different types of theft. Crime that happens overnight can be discouraged by increasing lighting, fencing, just in time deliveries of materials, electronic monitoring such as motion activated cameras, signs warning of an alarm system, and placing an on-site storage container or compound for secure storage of tools and materials.
Unfortunately, much of the theft that occurs at job sites is internal and may happen in broad daylight. In these cases, the police department recommended actions such as setting up an anonymous reporting system for your employees or subs, keeping good records and conducting random audits of your materials, delaying the installation of appliances until the homeowner is ready to move in, and establishing drug and background checks of workers.
Every job site is different and the most effective security measures will vary by area. However, the Shawnee Police Department stated that they are willing and able to survey your site and make security recommendations as needed. They also urged builders to fill out a construction site information form that includes an emergency contact number or posting a sign with contact information somewhere at the site in case police observe any suspicious activity.
Theft at job sites is a problem that affects everyone involved with the homebuilding industry so please share your own thoughts and feedback with other members. Replacing stolen materials is expensive and time-consuming, and a review of your insurance coverage is advised. The HBA will continue to strategize on how we may be helpful, so please keep us informed about cases of theft at your job sites.