Construction security a safe bet in the Roaring Fork Valley |

Construction security a safe bet in the Roaring Fork Valley

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” The construction site where the Residences at The Little Nell are rising above the Silver Queen Gondola is all activity during the day and relatively quiet at night, though security personnel are there 24/7.

A security guard there during the daytime was wearing no identifying marks and looked just like the other construction workers.

“We caught a guy in here the other day who didn’t belong here,” said the guard, who asked that his name not be used. “We think he might have been in here checking the place out. So we’re upping security. So far we’ve been fortunate, no accidents and no thefts.”

The business of keeping construction sites secure is increasing in the Roaring Fork Valley as the fast pace of development continues and big city thefts become more common. Some of that involves regular petty thefts from workplaces by employees as well as by outsiders.

“Every officer has dealt with supplies disappearing from construction sites and tools disappear from construction workers,” said Aspen police officer Leon Murray. “Unsecured stuff will disappear.”

The valley also has seen rashes of copper theft that typically is more common in cities like Denver.

“A couple of months ago there was kind of an epidemic of copper theft wiring [downvalley],” said Tom Dalessandri, owner of Colorado Protective Services, based in Carbondale. “That’s a big deal. They’re stealing spools and spools of this stuff. Then they fence it and get rid of it afterward.”

Copper theft around the country increased since the price of new copper rose to a record $3.58 a pound in May 2006. Today, copper sells in the low $3 per pound, still a lucrative price.

Security, however, is much broader than the basic forms of theft. Security experts said someone on a site can stop a fire, especially considering the large amount of gas-fired heat often used on construction sites.

Plus, the liability of having someone walk on to a site and get injured also is a concern, as well as the possibility of vandalism.

“We have saved some businesses millions of dollars,” said Randall Meeker, director of operations for Specialized Protective Services. “We’re there for that 1 percent of the time that something happens.”

FBI crime statistics show 110,837 cases of theft in Colorado during 2006, the most recent year reported. Of those, only 2,986 occurred in non-metropolitan counties.

Pitkin County reported roughly one theft, burglary or property crime per day in 2006.

“I think it’s growing more and more all the time,” Dalessandri said. “The valley is realizing the need for services like this. It’s definitely here and the financial stakes are high. “

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