Over €6 million worth of tools were stolen from construction sites in Ireland last year
Construction sites in Cork and Limerick were hit particularly hard.
Approximately €7.8 million worth of items, including €6.3 million worth of tools, were stolen from construction sites in Ireland from January to October last year, according to An Garda Síochána.
Those figures represented a 35% increase in construction crime throughout the country, with an increase evident in all Garda regions bar the South Eastern Region in a ten-month period.
The figures were revealed at the launch of the 'Secure It, Keep It' campaign by An Garda Síochána and The Construction Industry Federation, who are seeking to take a proactive role in the prevention of crime in the construction industry, which has historically been targeted by criminals.
Building sites are by nature easy targets for criminals due to the types of materials, tools and machinery on site. Construction crime can involve thefts from vehicles, burglary, unauthorised taking of vehicles, criminal damage and trespassing.
There were 4,652 incidents of construction crime in 2017, including the theft of €30,000 worth of materials/equipment from a site in Limerick, the theft of €22,000 worth of tools stolen from a van parked outside a house in Limerick and the theft of a 15,000 excavator from a site in Cork.
At a media briefing in Kinsale on Tuesday, An Garda Síochána and The Construction Industry Federation offered a number of simple tips to keep construction sites secure (see below).
- Set up CCTV if you are going to be on site for a prolonged period
- Good security lighting
- Fences or hoardings are effective and should be used whenever possible
- Keep the number of gates to site entrance to a minimum
- Localised temporary security alarms should be used
- Control access to the site. Visitors must sign in and vehicle registration numbers given
- Cash should not be kept on site when possible
- Machinery should be left in a well-lit part of the site with the keys removed
- Security locks and ground fixings are great for extra security
- Keep a record of engine numbers chassis number, vehicle ID numbers etc.
- Store your tools in a secure area
- Mark all of your tools with a unique identification number, photograph them and keep a record of it
- Report all thefts and suspicious activity on sites to An Garda Síochána
Speaking at the briefing, Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan said: "The main objective of the ‘Secure It Keep It’ campaign is to create and maintain awareness both within the industry and with the general public as to the importance of site security, and the security of plant machinery, construction equipment, tools and materials.
“We are appealing to everyone involved to go to the Garda website and take the ‘Construction Site Checklist Challenge’. In particular, I would appeal for everyone to mark their tools and equipment in some way.
“Recently, Gardaí seized power tools from a car boot sale in the West Cork Division that had been stolen in Dublin. Thankfully the tools had the owners name engraved on them and they have since been returned. An Garda Síochána is very active in monitoring online marketplaces as well as car boot sales etc. for the sale of stolen goods.”