Crime in Construction

construction-site-signAccording to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of thefts on construction sites increases with rising temperatures, making summer a prime time for theft crimes. In the UK, the Chartered Institute of Building found that 92% of respondents in the construction industry acknowledged theft was a regular problem and 21% admitted it took place on a weekly basis from their sites.*

Construction sites can minimize theft by fencing sites and marking all equipment. Since many sites are cased during the day, it is important for construction managers and staff to be aware of who is coming and going. This can make a significant impact in preventing and reducing construction crime. Large equipment as well as smaller goods are valuable, such as pipes and wires. The worldwide demand for copper, steel, brass, bronze and other metals elevated prices over the last few years to a great extent. These objects are also known to fare well on the black market.

Employee crime has also risen as a common problem. Rationalization and opportunity are two leading factors in employee theft (according to the Construction Industry Crime Prevention Program of Northern California). Thefts and vandalism correlate directly with how employees are treated. When an employee is terminated, theft is particularly likely. Jobsites need additional protection at such a time.

Broader management skills have become a catalyst to minimizing crime for construction managers. Since managers oversee the site, they are responsible for curtailing crime and resolving any problems that arise. Inventory labeling and control is key to tracking materials and identifying loss. Routine checks of inventory quantities can deter theft. More importantly, oversight can reveal the ongoing theft patterns that are occurring.

Advanced and tangible communication skills tend to help employees feel valued even as work demands swell. Construction managers should have routine discussions about vandalism and theft with employees and contractors. Encouraging such input helps produce a sense of personal engagement that can minimize crime. Team meetings about crime require a sensitivity to keep staff from feeling victimized, while also being firm enough to ensure the message is conveyed. Keeping employees feeling valued minimizes their possible likelihood to commit an on-the-job crime.

Since construction managers oversee budgets, they are responsible for the budget impact of losing equipment and work time when machinery is missing. Cutting crime will help construction managers and companies maximize profits and preserve their bottom line.

At the New England Institute of Technology, students enrolled in the Master’s in Construction Management have the opportunity to learn the business skills that Construction Managers need.

Learn more about how to build your career success with the MSCM from NEIT. 

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