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Construction site theft is categorized as a high reward, low risk endeavor. Job sites are often wide open; there's no need to bust windows, pick locks, or figure out how to dismantle a security system. There usually aren't even any security cameras to avoid.
To many construction companies, the sheer size of the property – from building supplies to heavy equipment – means it's safe. But, to a thief with the right equipment, these job sites are easy targets.
In addition, many thieves have their eyes on copper. Prices vary, but you can recycle copper for up to $2.50 per pound.
Benefits of Construction Site Security Camera Systems
Job site security measures help protect you against theft. A construction site security camera system serves two main purposes: deterrence and identification. Thieves typically focus on the most vulnerable targets. They're looking to lower their risk as much as possible, so they avoid locations with visible security measures. That's one of the reasons many insurance companies offer discounts to customers who install a security camera system. Placing the cameras where they're easily visible helps dissuade crooks.
In the event a thief is not dissuaded, or simply doesn't notice your security camera system, capturing their image can help the police identify them. This aids in both apprehension and prosecution.
What to Look for in a Construction Site Security Camera System
Most security camera systems come with a wide array of features and capabilities. Some are must-have, some are nice-to-have, and others offer little value. To help you find the best system for your job site, answer these questions.
How big is your surveillance area?
The number of cameras your system needs depends on two things: how much area you need covered and how much space the camera covers. Cameras with a wide angle lens cover a broader area, so you typically need fewer of them.
What is the camera's video resolution?
Getting your intruder's image on video is only helpful if you can make out their features. Clear images require higher resolution, at least 1080p. In addition, connecting your surveillance system to a recording device, such as a DVR, requires HD-compatible cameras to maintain image quality.
Does the system include night vision capabilities?
You mainly need your cameras to operate outside of construction hours, which means they'll mostly run at night. To keep that high-quality resolution, you need a system that includes infrared, or IR, technology. The best systems include a cut-switch that senses current lighting conditions and turns IR on or off accordingly.
Night vision range depends on the number of IR LEDs the camera has. The greater the area to be covered, the more infrared LEDs your cameras need.
How does the camera record?
There are loads of options here, from onboard storage (i.e. within the camera itself via SD) to DVR or DVD to cloud-based. You can also find computer-based systems that record to a hard drive. Much depends on the capabilities of the job site. If you don't have reliable Wi-Fi, a cloud-based system won't do you much good. Discuss the options with your vendor.
Does the system include mobile connectivity?
This also requires onsite Internet connectivity. It's a great option, though, as it allows you to tap into the surveillance feed from any connected device, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs. If you receive an alert, just log in to see whether action is required.
Are the cameras battery-powered or electric?
Construction sites can be difficult to get power to, so you may prefer battery-powered (just be sure to check the batteries occasionally). You usually get a clearer image with electric, but they require power access and usually a professional install.
Does the system include PTZ cameras?
Short for pan, tilt, zoom, PTZ cameras allow you to cover a wider area at the best angle without repositioning the unit.
How Much Do Security Cameras for a Construction Site Cost?
Security camera system costs vary widely. You can get a cheap system for under $100, but that's a single camera with few features or capabilities.
A true security camera system is going to run quite a bit more. Pricing varies based on features, wireless vs. wired, the number of cameras, recording method, and much more. But, we offer some sample prices to help you budget.
- Lorex system with 16 cameras, wired, 1080p, DVR recording, costs between $500 and $600
- Lorex HD 1080p, 16 cameras, ultra wide angle, DVR recording, costs between $1,000 and $1,500
- NETGEAR 5 camera, Wi-Fi, night vision, motion sensor, costs between $300 and $400
- Zmodo HD 1080p, 4 camera, Wi-Fi, Wireless, costs between $700 and $800
- Samsung PTZ, 1080p HD, motion sensing, Wi-Fi, Wireless, costs between $6,500 and $7,000