Nobody expects to be robbed at gunpoint while at work, but a recent surge in robberies targeting construction workers in Nashville has put contractors and their employers on high-alert. Typically construction-related crimes include trespassing and equipment theft, but this new wave of crime is targeting employees not equipment. Instead, these robbers are going after workers directly to quickly make off with smaller amounts of money.
In this two-part series, the construction attorneys at our Nashville construction law firm will discuss this rash of robberies in detail before providing instructions on how to prevent construction site robberies from putting your employees in danger.
Nashville’s Growing Problem with Construction Site Robberies
During the last quarter of 2018, close to a dozen construction workers in the Nashville area have reported being held at gunpoint and robbed of money and personal belongings. According to local investigators, these criminals are targeting Hispanic workers specifically.
The targeted workers report that they aren’t necessarily surprised that they are being targeted. Since many of these workers lack strong English skills, they have trouble talking down these criminals and quickly become confused and fearful.
Although these workers aren’t skilled at communicating in English, they claim the message is clear when a robber trespasses on their project site. One worker told Fox 17 Nashville about another worker being robbed, “He didn’t understand anything, but he understood he wanted money.”
The Impact of Construction Site Robberies in Nashville
Although these robbers are only able to pilfer a couple hundred dollars per project site, they are able to hit them in succession with very little lag time in-between. In one case, robbers were able to target two different project sites within two miles of each other within 30 minutes. These robberies have made workers nervous, slowed construction, and left local law enforcement officials baffled by how they can balance their resources to protect construction workers along with the rest of the general public in Nashville.
Hispanic workers in Nashville are targeted because, according to one affected worker, “People think because, no speak English, it’s a problem for us, maybe feel afraid, call the police, fear the deporting, but we need work,” the worker said.
Some of these workers don’t have a driver’s license or ID, but most of them have families and children, so changing jobs is usually not a viable option. In other words, it’s time for construction companies in Nashville to seek out ways to prevent vulnerable workers from being targeted by criminals. As things stand, it seems like this issue will only get worse in the near future. At least six other project sites in Nashville have been robbed this quarter. Police are advising people to report suspicious behavior around project sites, but there is no indication that this problem will be solved anytime soon.
To learn about strategies for preventing your own project sites from construction site robberies, read part two.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.