A Lesson In Security

Theft is something that can happen at any time to anyone.

Calvin Barrett recently told us about how a well executed theft almost cost him his whole career.

Although cyber crime has recently become a much bigger threat, it’s important to remember that traditional theft still poses a threat to people from all walks of life. Students are, statistically speaking, the most likely to be targeted in terms of violent crimes, but theft is a crime that can be committed against companies as well as individuals, which Calvin unfortunately found out last year.

“It can be easy to underestimate criminals, especially thieves. The conception of the burglar as a bungling idiot in a striped shirt and a black mask is one that does this class of criminal a favour if anything, as it has led to the public deeming the threat of theft as diminishing. The irony is before my company was robbed I’d probably spent much more thought and effort on protecting my new home, not even thinking that my company was at risk, or that I would be made responsible for the loss of the goods.”

We often make the mistake in thinking that thieves only target ‘desirable’ items. Luxury products such as sports cars, watches, jewellery and TVs might well seem like attractive targets, but they’re often the most the protected items. Shops that sell these status symbols invest in copious layers of security and often mark their wares with UV strips that provide the police with a clear mark that they have been stolen. There are plenty of other items worth thousands, that aren’t as well protected though – such as high-tech survey equipment…

“Last year I was starting my first year as a quantity surveyor. I was fresh out of university and ready to tackle the world, if not a little nervous. I thought that my degree had taught me everything that I needed to know about the job, I was confident in my skills and felt well versed in the theory, but there were a few things that hadn’t been covered in my degree: security being one of them.”

Total stations, such as the Trimble M3 Total Station,¬†are valuable assets to quantity surveyors, they are modern theodolites which help them accurately measure along both horizontal and vertical planes. There was a time when surveyors would use the manual version of this device which would require a team of people to correctly use, but today robotic total stations give surveyors the freedom to work alone, relying on the machine’s computer to do the brunt of the work. These items are, understandably, worth a lot of money but have only recently stated being targeted by thieves.

“It was the third week of working on-site and security was light, although I’d not realised just how light it was. I’d spent the morning surveying the site, taking notes and getting more and more hungry. When my boss radioed in for lunch I was so eager to eat that I stuck the cover over the total station and left it where it was. It wasn’t until I’d got back from work that I was able to see my error. Although I was initially told that I would lose my job, my company was eventually able to sue the team in charge of security and I was able to continue in my role – suffice to say that I’m a lot more careful now!”