Crane Climbing: Hot Trend, Security Headache

by Susanna Chu August 17th, 2017 in Caught in the Act Videos, Outdoor Asset Security
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 2 seconds
Crane Climbing: Hot Trend, Security Headache

[Updated September 3, 2019]

Crane climbers are giving contractors a serious headache this summer.

May 22 – Portland, OR – A construction site was evacuated after a “person in crisis” climbed a crane. Police crisis negotiators followed him up and talked to him for two hours before he came down. Full story

July 30 – Hamilton, ON – After three hours of negotiations, police convince a crane climber to come down. Full story

August 5 – San Jose, CA – An intoxicated and suicidal man climbs a crane and a Good Samaritan follows to talk him down. Original story. Follow-up story.

August 13 – Vancouver, BC – Two teens climb a Metro Vancouver construction crane—right next door to a police detachment. The incident was the fourth in the Metro Vancouver area in four months. News clip.

Crane climbing has long been a problem at construction sites. At Radius Security, we apprehend crane climbers—typically young mischief makers in their teens and 20s--regularly. However, the problem is bound to get worse with the growing popularity of rooftopping on social media. Daredevils climb cranes, scaffolding and tall buildings to take selfies, seeking their 15 minutes of Internet fame. A casual search on YouTube or Instagram will pull up thousands of videos and snapshots of risky climbs.

Meanwhile, contractors are puzzling over how to secure their sites. After the Portland incident, one construction executive mentioned locked gates at the base, locked intermediate hatches, no-climb netting, and a power-kill switch at the top. While this target hardening is helpful, prevention starts with securing the site at large.

  1. Ensure your fencing is secure. At Radius, we detect a surprising number of open gates and holes in fencing.
  2. Install adequate lighting throughout the site. This allows you and passersby to spot intruders.
  3. Install enough event-triggered security cameras to detect intruders as soon as they enter the site.

Why an “event-triggered” security camera system? Because security guards, even if they monitor live video feeds, are not enough. Just as on-site guards can’t be everywhere at once and may get tired, operators watching multiple monitors can’t catch everything.

Security Systems with Video Analytics Reduce Operator Fatigue

That’s why, at Radius, we developed our RedHanded remote guarding security system for outdoor sites. Surveillance cameras with Human Detection Technology monitor key entry points continuously for suspicious activity. Installed throughout the site, these sophisticated security cameras can detect intruders and alert our monitoring station immediately. Radius security professionals can then monitor the intruders and notify police, before anyone heads to the cranes. Officers often arrive within minutes, before the suspects can do much mischief.

After all, the key to stopping crane climbers is to catch them before that selfie, and before anyone gets hurt.

Videos of some recent Radius crane climber apprehensions:

January 27 - Crane Mischief

March 29 - Tandem Climbing

May 3 -  Teen Climbers

Related blogs:

Battling Crane Climbers, Thieves and Trespassers


Castañeda, Leonardo. Man arrested after climbing construction crane in downtown San Jose. (The Mercury News, August 5, 2019)

Castañeda, Leonardo. 'I need to get him down." Bystander recounts climbing San Jose construction crane to prevent suicide attempt. (The Mercury News, August 14, 2019)

CTV News broadcast video clip, August 13, 2019.

Kulla, Josh. Man climbs crane at construction site. (DJC Oregon, May 22, 2019)

Mitchell, Don. Man who climbed crane 'departed hospital without permission': police. (Global News, July 30, 2019)

Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.


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