Crane Climbing: Hot Trend, Security Headache

Submitted by: Susanna Chu

Crane climbers are giving contractors a serious headache this summer.

April 26: A young woman grabs national headlines when she dangles from a crane for four hours.

June 6: Abbotsford police catch teens climbing a crane.

June 12: After four separate crane climbing incidents in three weeks, York police issue a warning to young people against putting themselves and rescuers in danger.

July 13: An intoxicated London man ties up emergency services for hours after scaling a crane at a St. Thomas construction site.

 While the high-profile April rescue may have led to copycat incidents and a spike across Southern Ontario, crane climbing has long been a problem at construction sites. At Radius Security, we apprehend crane climbers—typically young mischief makers in their teens and 20s--regularly. However, the problem is bound to get worse with the growing popularity of rooftopping on social media. Daredevils climb cranes, scaffolding and tall buildings to take selfies, seeking their 15 minutes of Internet fame. A casual search on YouTube or Instagram will pull up thousands of videos and snapshots of risky climbs.

Meanwhile, contractors are puzzling over how to secure their sites. After the London incident, one construction executive mentioned securing crane hatches and using padlocks that are resistant to bolt cutters. While this target hardening is helpful, prevention starts with securing the site at large.

  1. Ensure your fencing is secure. At Radius, we detect a surprising number of open gates and holes in fencing.
  2. Install adequate lighting throughout the site. This allows you and passersby to spot intruders.
  3. Install enough event-triggered security cameras to detect intruders as soon as they enter the site.

Why an “event-triggered” security camera system? Because security guards, even if they monitor live video feeds, are not enough. In more than one Toronto crane incident, security guards monitoring live video feeds initially missed the intruders. Just as on-site guards can’t be everywhere at once and may get tired, operators watching multiple monitors can’t catch everything.

That’s why, at Radius, we developed our RedHanded remote guarding security system for outdoor sites. Surveillance cameras with Human Detection Technology monitor key entry points continuously for suspicious activity. Installed throughout the site, these sophisticated security cameras can detect intruders and alert our monitoring station immediately. Radius security professionals can then monitor the intruders and notify police, before anyone heads to the cranes. Officers often arrive within minutes, before the suspects can do much mischief.

After all, the key to stopping crane climbers is to catch them before that selfie, and before anyone gets hurt.

For more information on contractors’ liability and the April crane climbing incident, plus a collection of Radius crane climbing videos, see our blog, “Climbing Cranes: Rooftoppers Pose Safety and Security Risk at Construction Sites.”



Police called to 3 crane climbing incidents in York Region. CTV News Toronto, May 27, 2017.

York Police to young people: please stop climbing cranes. CBC, June 12, 2017.

St. Thomas emergency responders tied up for several hours after man climbs 45-metre crane

The London Free Press, July 13, 2017.

Police catch teen crane climbers in the act. The Abbotsford News, June 6, 2017.


 Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.



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