Property crime on construction sites is a problem for builders in the local area.
A group from BILD Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Police Service Property Crime Unit were in the morning Monday to discuss increasing the amount of crime that is happening on construction sites throughout the city.
LPS Property Crimes Unit Sgt. Liam Breedon said they had observed a significant trend regarding thefts, break-and-entry as well as mischief, and other types of crime that are occurring on construction sites within the city. Through that, they saw the potential to bring some of the affected companies together via BILD and engage in a conversation about what they can accomplish together to stop certain crimes.
“With the importance of construction equipment such as construction materials, construction equipment, and other items like that there’s an increase in the number of crimes being committed in these places,” said Breedon.
The source said that some crimes are related to theft of construction materials, such as electric wire, lumber, tools, as well as the destruction of property.
Reps of Ramton Homes, Cedar Ridge, Ashcroft and Stranville Living were in attendance, and said they were experiencing several issues with construction sites across different regions on the west side of the city.
The most common theme among those present was the notion that crimes on the site are causing delays to the construction process which is costing them money and adding to their frustration.
One builder said that in his situation the site was divided multiple times to steal wiring until they had to put up the home with holes that electricians could remove the wire after. This isn’t an easy procedure to follow in order to prevent further thefts.
When LPS asked LPS regarding possible suspects the people in attendance said that they believed that whoever broke into their websites must be an individual who is employed in the industry or was a an employee of the industry because they know what steps to do and, in the majority of cases the best way to get it removed from the website.
BILD Lethbridge’s executive director, Bridget Mearns, said she arranged the round table discussion due to hearing from several members that vandalism was occurring on their websites.
“It was vital for me to engage in more of a discussion on the frequency of this happening and where it’s taking place. I was very happy to engage regarding this issue with my Lethbridge Police Service because we collaborate on the problem,” said Mearns.
She stated that it is important to discuss it so that it can provide LPS an understanding of the impact these criminal acts have on the business and to know the frequency at which it is taking place.
Breedon reiterated her remarks on the importance of raising awareness about the issue in that people don’t even know the issue is taking place and they don’t know how to take action.
“We must work from what we are told,” said Breedon.
He added that while it’s essential that builders report crimes on construction sites It is equally important for the rest of the community to also report crimes.
“We’re asking you to be aware of any of these houses under construction or being built on top of existing homes or are located near existing homes, we’d suggest to the people living there to be mindful and alert to any unfamiliar or suspicious traffic during different times,” said Breedon.
He explained that because of the city’s noise ordinance, construction generally takes place between 7:15 a.m. between 5:15 p.m. so when residents observe vehicles passing through at midnightor in the in the early hours of the morning, please notify the emergency line.
“It’s similar to an individual in the city seeing someone in their neighbor’s backyard and then saying ‘I don’t believe I recognize that person’, and then they call the police and report that there’s someone suspicious within my backyard, or in my neighbor’s backyard,” said Breedon.