As lumber prices rise, construction companies advised to take extra precautions

VANCOUVER Police are encouraging construction companies to take extra precautions to prevent crime, following a spike in thefts on the city’s west side.

“As lumber prices have continued to rise, VPD has seen a significant increase in break and enters to construction sites this year,” said Sgt. Steve Addison. “In many cases, the thieves have made off with thousands of dollars in plywood and other building materials. We’re encouraging site managers to take precautions to avoid future thefts.”

The most recent theft was reported May 10 at a construction site in Kerrisdale, when three pallets of roofing shingles and 60 sheets of plywood were stolen after being left insecure for several days. That theft follows similar crimes in Arbutus Ridge, Kitsilano, Marpole, and Dunbar.

Since January, at least seven construction sites on the west-side have been targeted. In one case, thieves got away with more than $10,000 in plywood.

“We don’t yet know who is responsible for these crimes, or whether it’s the work of one or more thieves,” said Addison. “But due to the amount of materials being stolen, it’s likely the thieves are using a large truck or moving van.”

Vancouver Police recommend the following tips to deter thieves from constructions sites:

  • Plan ahead, and don’t have more building materials on your site than you will need for that work day
  • Time deliveries right. Don’t place an order for a Friday afternoon if there is no work happening on the weekend
  • Consider securing extra materials on an upper floor of the building under construction, or place a heavy object like the forks of a forklift on top so thieves can’t easily access them

VPD encourages anyone who witnesses a crime in progress to call 9-1-1. Anyone with tips about who is responsible for the west-side construction site thefts can call 604-717-4034 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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