Thieves preying on construction workers during building boom in London
Jamie Warren was disappointed, but not surprised when he went into work Thursday at a north London construction site and found a broken latch on his trailer and hundreds of dollars worth of missing equipment.
"Not again," said Warren, who installs windows, doors and siding.
It's the fourth time this year thieves have broken into one of his trailers and the 10th in the last three years.
In fact, London police are reporting an increase in construction site thefts with about 60 incidents in 2016. Halfway through this year, police said 69 thefts have already been reported.
Peder Madsen, the president of the London Home Builder's Association, said a boom in construction in the city could be the reason for a spike in thefts.
"It's a very busy season for the whole industry," he said. "People are hearing that construction is up so if people want to take advantage of that they may see that now is a good time."
"(Construction workers) are fed up. You take your trailer home and it still gets broken into. You leave it on site and it still gets broken into. You buy new tools and the next couple of nights go by and it gets broken into," Warren said. "The losses are mounting up."
Losses hurting livelihoods
In the past, Geddes Ken and Son Windows and Doors, which is the London-based company Warren works for, has lost compressors and equipment worth more than $20,000.
Just this week the company lost $600 worth of drills, battery chargers and extension cords.
It all adds up to a hefty out-of-pocket expense for workers trying to make a living.
"It hurts that's for sure," said Phill Bosch, a framer with A and B Construction in London who has poured $6,000 of out-out-pocket expenses to help offset theft costs for his company. "That money is supposed to go toward feeding my family and taking care of my family."
Wayne Parry, the owner of Parry Homes overseeing 10 construction sites in Lucan, is receiving weekly reports of equipment thefts.
He said the losses often push back building competition dates.
"If (construction workers) lose their tools then they're not working and therefore I'm not moving on with my process," he said. "I can't close my houses on time, or I can't get my houses completed on time because of things like tools being stolen or material being stolen."
Increasing security measures
Warren has had to take extra security measures by installing additional locks and monitoring cameras.
He's even considering hauling his trailer home every day, which would mean spending more money on fuel.
He's advising neighbours in construction areas to be vigilant.
"If someone's hanging around near a trailer at night they're probably not supposed to be there."