How to Prevent Vandalism at Construction Sites and Auto Dealerships

Submitted by: Susanna Chu

 smashed_windshieldWhether it’s just kids looking for trouble or hardened criminals out to steal expensive equipment, vandalism at construction sites and auto dealerships hurts the bottom line. In February 2018, two vandals smashed almost 300 windows at a Detroit auto dealership. About the same time, two dealers in Langley, B.C. complained to local media about ongoing vandalism—such as spray-painted graffiti, damaged ignitions, gear shifts and steering columns, and broken windows—and the lack of justice. Meanwhile, construction sites grapple continually with cut fences and smashed locks on shipping containers. The losses large and small add up.

So what can you do to protect your property?

1. Harden the target. Take a look around your site and note where it is most vulnerable. How can vandals get in and do damage without being seen?

  • Secure the perimeter with chain-link fencing and gate access control.
  • Check the fence for breaches and repair them promptly.
  • Install plenty of lighting everywhere, including motion-sensor lights,
  • Secure storage sheds with good locks.
  • Change padlocks on your gates and around the site regularly, even several times during one job.

2. Display warning signs. Let potential vandals know you have taken security measures and will prosecute all criminals. “Private Property,” “No Trespassing,” and “Security Cameras in Use” are common warning signs.

3. Follow security measures. Train your employees to follow security measures.

  • Lock up items at the end of the day.
  • Sign out equipment when in use and when returned.
  • Require all visitors to sign in and out.
  • Challenge any strangers.
  • Wear identification badges.
  • Include an employee search clause in all contracts.
  • Conduct criminal background checks on all staff, contractors, sub-trades and security guards.

4. Make equipment harder to steal.

  • Mark or die stamp tools and equipment.
  • Keep up-to-date inventory records, including serial and ID numbers.
  • Lock equipment and vehicles.
  • Install anti-theft devices.
  • Use locking gas and oil caps.
  • Keep minimal gas in tanks.
  • For large construction equipment and vehicles, cluster them at the end of the day.
  • Remove keys from large equipment and vehicles.
  • If you store equipment keys on a key board, assign a worker to take the key board home.

5. Install monitored security cameras. To be effective against theft and vandalism, you need an interactive, monitored security system. Place cameras high enough to offer a wide view of the secured area, and out of reach of thieves and vandals. An event-triggered video-analytics system, with cameras connected 24/7 via Internet to a remote central operating station, offers your best chance of stopping vandals in the act and minimizing any property damage. Why wait for someone to smash 300 windows? Notify police as soon as they enter the site and have them apprehended before they can inflict significant damage.

6. Hire on-site security guards. Although on-site guards can’t be everywhere at once, they can complement a remote video monitoring security system. A remote guarding security provider can notify the on-site guards to secure fences, confirm damage and meet police in lieu of another client representative.



Alaniz, Anthony. 55 cars vandalized, nearly 300 windows smashed at dealership., February 24, 2018.

Azpiri, Jon. Langley car dealers say never-ending thefts, vandalism costing thousands of dollars. Global News, February 13, 2018

Controlling theft and vandalism at construction sites. City of Kennewick, WA.

Theft and vandalism on construction sites., May 4, 2018


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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