Habitat for Humanity jobsites often fall victim to thieves and vandals, greatly impacting the building process. Annually, thefts have accounted for thousands of dollars worth of claims in the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program. However, that doesn’t even take into account the expenses and costs to replace items that are stolen that are less than $5,000 (below the deductible threshold). Imagine the money affiliates have paid out of pocket for theft claims alone that could’ve gone towards building homes. Construction time can also be impacted when valuable tools, materials, and equipment are stolen or damaged. Not to mention the hours and days that may be wasted waiting for the replacement of these items.
How do you reduce theft at your jobsites?
Thieves primarily steal items that they can sell quickly or keep for their own use. Items stolen most frequently are tools, materials, and equipment. Theft primarily occurs on jobsites with little security and where equipment remains unattended over the weekend.
As an affiliate, you can be proactive to help curtail theft or vandalism on your jobsites. Here are tips to help your affiliate protect its jobsites from theft:
- Make the jobsite unattractive and bare-looking. By reducing the aesthetics your jobsite will be less noticeable to thieves.
- Schedule material drop-offs for the day those materials will be needed. Stacks of excess material are an invitation to steal for thieves.
- Keep close tabs on your subcontractors. Know who you’re hiring and who will be on your site. Loyal, long-term subcontractors will be good partners and will be less likely to steal from you.
- Don’t leave tools and equipment on a jobsite over the weekend. Remove valuable tools from the jobsite, or store them in a locked area out of sight and away from windows. Consider moving your high-value construction equipment and materials to an off-site 24-hr secured storage facility.
- If you utilize a trailer to store tools and equipment, make sure it is secure and located in a well-lit area away from trees or shrubbery that may block the entrance.
- Lock up your jobsite. While it may only slow thieves down, they may become frustrated and leave. Use heavy-duty chains and padlocks.
- Consider marking tools with some form of identification using die stamps or etching tools.
- Contact your local police department and ask them to patrol your area at night.
- Immobilize your equipment – including track hoes, bobcats, trailers, etc (i.e. remove keys from equipment when not in use).
- Install motion lights on the exterior of the home under construction. The light may scare a thief into thinking someone is onsite, or that a neighbor might be alerted to their activity.
- Install security systems
- Install mesh or wire fencing around your jobsite. This will deter access to the jobsite and reduce the risk of a slip or trip accident by a trespasser. Many affiliates use orange mesh fencing; it is inexpensive and highly visible.
- Promote a Neighborhood Watch Program and encourage residents to watch homes under construction in particular.
- Post “No Trespassing” signs and have them registered with local law enforcement. Once registered, anyone caught onsite could potentially be arrested or prosecuted.
At the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program, we strive to provide useful tools and tips to help affiliates manage their risks and reduce their losses. If you have any questions, please call us at 888-553-9002. If you have jobsite theft prevention tips you’d like to share, please let us know. You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.