Beating construction site thieves to the punch

17. March 2023

Video Guard prevents crimes – and helps solve them if the worst comes to the worst

Theft on construction sites remains an ongoing issue. But many crimes are not even reported. The administrative effort and the expectation that the crime will remain unsolved are reasons for this. To prevent a crime from being committed in the first place, construction sites should be monitored using camera technology such as Video Guard. If the system detects unwanted persons, the high-resolution stream is transmitted to the alarm center. The recordings help to identify intruders and thus facilitate the investigation of criminal offenses. As a rule, camera surveillance in itself has a deterrent and preventive effect.

Photovoltaic modules, cables or even an entire excavator stolen: The reports of construction site thefts are constant. However, many crimes do not even appear in the statistics or the press because they are not reported.

There are many reasons for this: inadequate documentation of materials and equipment makes it difficult for those responsible for construction to report them. Construction companies also shy away from the administrative effort. This is because the replacement of materials and machines is often the first priority – and this already takes a lot of time.

In addition, many assume that the crime will not be solved anyway. And unfortunately, this fear is not entirely unfounded: While almost 55 percent of all crimes in Germany have been solved in recent years, the clearance rate for theft is significantly lower. But every report – even of minor thefts – makes prosecution easier.

Possible protective measures
The Federal Criminal Police Office advises, among other things, that construction sites should be fully protected with a construction fence at least 2.5 meters high with climbing protection. Illumination of storage areas, wheel and steering wheel claws and locating devices for construction vehicles are also recommended. The latter should be parked in such a way that access to the tank is difficult. If construction work is interrupted for a longer period, it is advisable to remove the fuel and switch off the power. These measures are supplemented, optimized and in some cases even replaced by camera-based surveillance – such as with Video Guard. “The basic aim should of course be to prevent theft from occurring on the construction site in the first place,” explains Jörn Windler, Managing Director of International Security GmbH.

Secure right from the start
A conscious approach to materials and machines worthy of protection leads to improved documentation right from the start of the project. Ideally, camera surveillance should already be anchored in the rough concept of the construction site equipment – and thus planned before the project starts. The Video Guard towers are initially calculated here on the basis of an area plan. The number of systems depends, among other things, on the type and size of the construction project, its extent and the location of the construction site – and also on the question of whether there is comprehensive surveillance or a specific area is defined in which, for example, materials and machines are stored outside working hours.

Event-driven intervention
If the surveillance system detects unwanted persons on the construction site using self-learning video analytics, the high-resolution stream is transmitted to the alarm center. Trained employees inspect the material and initially respond by speaking directly to the customer. The latter takes place via the loudspeaker system installed on the camera tower. As a rule, this step already leads to the potential perpetrator retreating – a crime is thus prevented by the immediate reaction.

Recording facilitates clarification
If the approach does not lead to an escape, the alarm center organizes the intervention measures together with the responsible police or a security service. The short reaction time and clear location of the perpetrators on the premises increase the probability that they can be apprehended. The camera recordings also help to identify intruders and can be used in court. They thus facilitate the investigation of criminal offenses.

Video Guard in Bremen's Überseestadt district
Camera recordings help to identify intruders and can be used in court. They thus facilitate the investigation of criminal offenses.