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Posted: 07/30/2018

How to protect your compact equipment from theft

To minimize the risk of equipment loss from your jobsite it is important to post no trespassing signs and install chain-link fences.

It is estimated that approximately $300 million to $1 billion worth of construction equipment in the United States is stolen each year. And despite ongoing efforts by construction firms and law enforcement, the number of equipment theft reports continues to grow.

To minimize the risk of losses from your jobsite it is important to have a theft prevention plan in place. Here are a few steps to consider.

Secure the jobsite

Before beginning a new project, look at the jobsite. Is the area well-lit and easily seen from the road? Are there security devices, such as an alarm system or video surveillance, to monitor the site? If not, you should consider these items to deter thieves.

Other common-sense tips that should not be overlooked are locking the cabin door and closing any windows when your operators are done working for the day. Do not leave the keys in the machine.

There are other proactive steps you can take to secure the jobsite, including:

  • Get to know other companies or contractors working on the jobsite.
  • Add a chain-link fence or gate.
  • Post warning and no trespassing signs.
  • Limit the number of individuals with access.
  • Install security lighting or use a light tower to illuminate the jobsite.
  • Consider hiring a security guard service for larger jobsites that contain high-value equipment.

If you are unable to secure the jobsite or are concerned about the security of your equipment, look for a safer area within driving or hauling distance to your worksite. It may be more work upfront, but it can be worth the extra costs when it comes to preventing theft.

Know your equipment

How well do you really know the equipment on every project? Familiarizing yourself with the make, model number, serial number and purchase dates of your equipment and keeping that information on file is another way to help reduce the chance of theft. Take a picture of every machine, even something as simple as a smartphone picture, and save it with the machine details. This information should be stored in a secure location, away from the jobsite. Ask your equipment sales specialist if you are unaware of the serial plate locations on your machines.

Make sure to register your equipment through the National Equipment Register (NER) or the National Crime Information Center to help increase your odds of recovery if the equipment is stolen. The NER is a national database of stolen equipment and ownership to help recover equipment for owners and insurers of equipment.

Follow site protocol

On any jobsite, you and your equipment operators should know site protocol. At the end of each shift, park the equipment, shut and lock the cab door, and log each piece of equipment according to site protocol. You may consider parking the equipment in a circle, with compact equipment placed in the middle to lower the risk of theft.

Report theft

Delayed reports of stolen equipment are the No. 1 reason why equipment is not recovered, as reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The quicker you or your operators report the theft, the more likely the equipment will be recovered.

If you are a victim of equipment theft, follow these actions:

  • Notify the authorities and relay details of the missing machine, such as size, color and model. The more information you can provide, the better.
  • Inform your insurance company to get started on your claim.
  • Report your machine to the National Equipment Registry.

Equipment theft can be a frustrating and costly issue. But by developing a comprehensive theft prevention plan and promoting constant vigilance, you can help minimize theft and vandalism.

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