In Australia, Construction Industry Using GPS to Find Thieves

March 12, 2007
GPS tracking devices being applied to materials on construction sites to uncover crime channels

The use of global positioning satellite tracking devices has led the building industry to help police arrest a ring of building site thieves.

The building industry's Name and Shame campaign recently had Meridian Security install tracking devices in items on several sites after a spate of burglaries in Landsdale.

The stolen goods were tracked through Darch, Madeley and Hocking, where more items were collected and delivered to a residential address in Dianella.

Officers searched the Dianella home and recovered a stolen oven and hotplate valued at $1200. These were traced to a BGC site in Lansdale and an In Vogue building site in Madeley.

Police arrested two men and charged them with burglary and stealing.

Name and Shame investigators said they had been following one of the suspected offenders for some time and were aware he had close links to people working in the building industry.

Campaign organisers say criminals will continue to offend unless they are jailed. As repeat offenders, they play a large part in creating additional costs for builders, increasing the price of new homes and causing construction delays.

The recent spate of building site crime has prompted BGC group building manager Martyn Goddard to call on all Perth builders to join the HIA Name and Shame campaign.

"The continued success of the campaign is completely reliant on the number of builders supporting the initiative and we urge all builders to support the campaign in its bid to reduce theft and vandalism on Perth's home building sites," Mr Goddard said.

The campaign encourages reports of suspicious behaviour through its 1300 2 REWARD (1300 2 739 273) hotline.

Goods worth more than $5 million have been reported stolen or damaged since its inception in 2003. In the past 12 months, 118 adults have been charged with 474 offences relating to building site theft.

Name and Shame has 65 Perth builders supporting it and offers a reward of $300 to $3000 for any information that results in an arrest.

Offenders who are convicted of building site crimes are "named and shamed" in a monthly newsletter, which is distributed to all members, suppliers and the general public where building site crimes are prevalent.