The latest LoJack® Construction Equipment Theft Recovery Report has been released. You may access the PDF here and the infographic here. Heavy equipment theft cases have some similarities to vehicle theft, with both being crimes of opportunity or targeted by organized crime. The benefit for thieves is money from the resale or parts. So how do you protect your construction equipment and vehicles?
Common Sense Procedures
Most construction sites are defined by fences which can be locked in order to keep the general public out. If using a barrier isn’t an option, try to group the equipment together and even consider chaining them as it makes them more difficult to move and could decrease the desirability as a target. A popular practice is having visible video cameras and motion lighting for determent.
Another method that thieves may use is assuming the identity of a crew member or transport driver. Unless you recognize someone, it is best to review credentials and check with the hired company when a person is asking to remove equipment. This should be part of your documented check-in and –out system. Also, check the day’s schedule if a request seems unexpected.
Maine’s state government has some additional good tips:
• Lock and immobilize equipment during non-work hours
• Utilize basic key control and specialized locks. Locks should be placed on all vehicles, portable equipment, storage sheds, trailers and utility bodies when not in use. Use only high security locks: pick-resistant, case-hardened, or laminated steel. If a chain is required, it should be case-hardened and thick enough to prevent easy cutting
• Attach anti-theft devices, such as steering wheel locks, kill switches, tire and wheel/axle locks, locked hood side plates and locking fuel caps
• Double stamp all tools, equipment and attachments with an identification number, one conspicuous and one hidden
• Display warning signs that indicate identification and serial numbers are recorded
• Make unscheduled visits to work sites, including at night, on weekends and on holidays
The Technology Layer
Implementing mixed fleet telematics, such as AssetOutlook™, provides early warning of possible unauthorized use and theft. There are alerts triggered by ignition on and movement during off-work hours. If you establish geozones or virtual boundaries, you can be notified when an asset enters or leaves the area. Using AssetOutlook’s Esri mapping tool, you are able to pinpoint equipment individually, by type and by location. The breadcrumb option allows you to view the route taken.
By adding the LoJack® Asset Recovery System businesses can help further protect their equipment from loss due to theft. With hundreds of millions of dollars of recovered assets to date, as cited in LoJack’s 2016 Construction Equipment Theft Recovery Report, the LoJack® System is a smart added layer of security for any contractor or equipment rental firm.
In our next post on this topic, we will share some equipment theft stories that demonstrate the value of theft prevention using technology.
If you are victim of construction equipment theft, even with the technology layer, it is good to take these additional steps:
• Cordon off the area for evidence collection and take your own pictures as your insurance policy may request them when filing
• Make a list of everything taken, remember that tools are also a favorite target, to report to law enforcement
• Alert local auction houses and equipment distributors, as well as any nearby train yards, ports or commercial barges
• Have someone keep an eye on online auction and for sale sites
These common sense practices plus the use of technology will improve the protection of your equipment from theft. Download the 2016 LoJack® Construction Equipment Theft Recovery Report here and the infographic here.