“As an industry, we’ve been very careful lately to make sure the materials don’t drag because the value has gone up and up,” he said.
The value of items stolen from construction sites ranged from $100 overnight to $10,000 for a year-long project. Yungwirth said costs can be both direct and indirect.
“If something like a heater is stolen that hardens the concrete, and the weather turns cold and the concrete freezes, the concrete needs to be removed and replaced,” Yungwith explained. “It could take days or weeks to fix something like this.”
Adding to the frustration is that members who file repeat claims are told by their insurer that if they file another one, they run the risk of having their policy voided. Yungwirth recalls a conversation he had with a member whose shop had been robbed several times. Despite efforts after each incident to increase security through the addition of lights and heavier doors, criminals continued to arrive.
“At some point, you have to say that I can’t take it anymore, and on the one hand I have people stealing my things and on the other, my insurer is threatening to cancel my policy. We are in the wrong place,” Yungwirth said.
According to recent statistics presented to the Prince Albert Council of Police Boards, as of the end of March, there were 100 reports of theft of property under $5,000. This is 18 more than the same three periods in 2021. There were 109 vehicle thefts and 85 break-ins.
Problems related to theft are not limited to the construction industry, as retail and agriculture are also feeling the effects. Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), said one way to try to prevent losses is to create more rural watch groups.
“Also, we are looking for more volunteers in rural areas to be able to help the RCMP identify things. I’m just kind of the eyes and ears of the RCMP,” Orb said.
As for what’s missing, Orb said it was mostly tools, but added it was also small machinery and vehicles left parked on properties.
“We encourage farmers as much as possible to have surveillance systems in place to be able to monitor what is happening; not only in their own yards, but also in adjacent yards,” he said.
Next Wednesday’s meeting will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Coronet Hotel. There is no charge to attend, but people are encouraged to register online. Patty Hughes, CEO of the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is committed to standing up for the business community and will meet with government, stakeholders and others involved to make the necessary changes including the local business community needs to solve this problem.
“Whether it’s changes to the bidding process or new regulations to make it so expensive to sell items, we’re looking for ideas. And that’s where you come in to be part of the solution. “, she said. “Now is the time to help us help you”
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell