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What Does It Take to Prevent Equipment from Being Stolen?

Posted by Mark Mariotti on Jul 15, 2022

A tractor supply store got robbed not once but twice in one month. A Fox Queen City News story reported the investigators needs the public’s help in identifying suspects in the equipment theft. Something was missing from the report. Usually, when security camera footage exists, the news report would mention it and share it. But there is none with the story.

Some stories show video recordings to ask the public if they recognize anything. However, the footage does not always show identifiable information. The company has to hope someone recognizes something from the blurry images. When you see these types of images, it means the company does not use high-quality, commercial-grade video surveillance.

The Harsh Realities of Equipment Theft

Many businesses believe equipment theft will never happen to them or that they don’t need to worry about it. Unfortunately, information from the National Equipment Register equipment theft report tells a different story. The average cost of all equipment theft is $400 million per year. This cost only accounts for the price of the stolen goods. The report does not consider the theft of tools, building materials, or damages to the premises during the theft.

After the occurrence of equipment theft, the business may not have what it needs to do the job. This data doesn’t factor in the cost of lost workdays as the result of needing to replace the stolen equipment with a rental, a new one, or bringing in a backup from another location. The other thing the NER report mentions is that the data is based on reported thefts. Many equipment thefts go unreported for many reasons.

The most recent Verisk NER article reveals that equipment rental fraud and thefts have been rising since 2018. The trend continues in the year 2022. Smash and grabs are also another problem plaguing the industry. Verisk has an infographic that indicates 320 equipment theft incidents were reported around Memorial Day. The most targeted locations include worksites, dealerships, and storage facilities.

Verisk explains equipment theft patterns tend to reflect the state of the overall economy. As North America works toward returning to some normalcy, the demand for equipment is climbing. It turns out there’s a scarcity of equipment, which elevates the demand for equipment. This sort of thing attracts organized crime gangs and sophisticated thieves because they know they will get maximum dollars for stolen equipment.

You may think equipment theft won’t happen to your business. Thinking this way could leave you woefully unprepared for when something occurs. If theft transpires, then you’ll be at a bigger risk for huge losses if you can’t replace stolen equipment. That’s why Verisk recommends all industries especially construction sites, dealerships, equipment rental businesses and storage facilities to be proactive in preventing equipment theft.

What Can You Do to Prevent Equipment Theft?

Regardless of your industry or the size of your property, you can help fortify your company’s security when you follow these tips. It does make a difference even to those businesses with many assets that can’t be locked inside a building. For example, all the vehicles at a dealership and large equipment on a construction site or equipment rental business.

1. Create a security plan

A security plan outlines the layout of the property to help identify weak points in your perimeter security and how to address them. The plan includes information about security requirements for the interior and exterior of the property. Another critical component is to document that all employees will undergo regular security training.

You can implement all the security recommendations to bolster your security with multiple layers. However, all it takes is one employee’s mistake to put the business at risk for theft. People and security processes play an essential role in a company’s security.

The plan identifies the role of the employee responsible for overseeing the security of the business. This person does not necessarily have to be a security expert. Rather, they will serve as the contact point and supervise the security program.

For example, if the business installs remote video surveillance, then the employee responsible for security will be the point of contact whenever something suspicious comes up. That person — or a designated backup (always have a backup in case something happens to the employee or they’re out of the office) — would be the person the video surveillance monitoring operator could contact when there’s a concern.

That employee could ensure all new hires receive security training when onboarding and current employees undergo a refresher at least once a year. The point of the role is to place ownership of security-related activities with one person. That person can delegate as needed.

2. Train employees on security practices

Now that you have a security plan documenting that all new employees will receive security training as part of the onboarding process, make sure that it’s implemented. What the training covers depend on the company’s security processes and industry. A construction site would address different elements in its security training than a dealership or equipment rental business would.

3. Use an asset management tracking system

Before adding identifying information to your equipment, you want to find a tool to help you stay on top of this data. This is where an asset management tracking system is valuable. The app has the ability to let you enter details about the equipment as well as attach photos.

Anytime equipment theft occurs, then you’ll have all the information you need to report the stolen item to the police, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, NER, and any other organization that needs this information. Another useful thing about the app is that you can receive automatic notifications when it’s time for your asset to undergo maintenance to extend its life.

4. Add identifiable information to equipment

With an asset management tracking system in place, start engraving or stamping identifiable information on your most important assets. It may feel overwhelming to start doing an inventory of all your assets. Start small with your most expensive and business-critical assets. For those assets, it may be worth inserting covert GPS trackers.

This app can do more than just provide you with information about assets after a theft. GPS trackers can help you keep track of where all your assets are located. If equipment breaks, then you can use the asset management tracking system to find a replacement.

Be careful, though. GPS trackers are imperfect. Some experienced thieves and organized crime gangs may use GPS jammers to stop the GPS from working. That’s why it’s important to engrave identifiers on the equipment. Be sure to etch it in rather than use an easily removable label.

5. Install proper lighting

Another way to lower your risk of theft is by installing the right kind of lighting and in the right areas. Properties without lighting attract thieves because they know it will be harder to be seen.

There is an art and science to lighting. Therefore, it’s strongly advised that your company works with an experienced security consultant to design an optimal lighting solution. Just as important, do regular checks on your lighting to verify all of it works or get it repaired.

6. Put up fencing

The great thing about installing a fence around your business is that it creates a single entry and exit point. Of course, it’s not always possible to do this. However, if you can, you’ll be able to validate every person’s identification and gain more control over managing deliveries.

The more layers you add to security, the less likely trespassers will target your business. As you want to regularly inspect your lighting, you also want to consistently review your fencing to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with or damaged.

7. Implement remote video surveillance

One of the key things you want to consider is that everything recorded on camera is identifiable regardless of whether it is day or night. Be aware that not all security cameras have the power to make out faces, license plates, vehicle details, and other important information. If your remote video surveillance cameras can only see in the daytime and show dark footage in low lighting, it won’t do you much good.

Unlike reactive traditional security systems, a live-monitored video surveillance system takes a proactive approach to security and deterring equipment theft. Its ability to be proactive makes it possible to help prevent damage. That’s the power of pairing video analytics with trained monitoring operators. Together, they watch for suspicious activity in real-time.

As soon as they recognize a problem, the operator, who is safely located in a remote monitoring center, could issue an audio warning over on-site speakers. If the suspects do not leave after the audio warning, the monitoring operator can call law enforcement and give them a report while tracking the suspects’ movements.

Remote video surveillancee can save all recordings. Anytime someone reports a problem or makes a liability claim, trained analysts can quickly search through hours of footage to locate the activity in question. Liability claims are hard cases to win and video surveillance can give you the proof you need to make your case and protect your business.

Video surveillance can also stay on top of your lighting, fencing, and anything else to make sure everything works. Even some video surveillance systems come with a system health check, which is also critical in verifying the system works or fixing it.

Remote video surveillance not only helps deter crime but also could result in a fast ROI because it can help your business in other ways. The security technology can help spot safety hazards, bottlenecks, and breakdowns in processes.

One More Thing …

While incorporating these seven things can help cut your risk for equipment theft and maximizing your security investment, you want to ensure your security investment pays off. The way to do that is to work with a company that has experience in your industry. Every industry and even businesses in the same industry have different security requirements.

Check out the industries Stealth has worked with all across North America. You can watch videos of remote video surveillance in action for your industry.

Stealth can customize a security system to meet your company’s requirements and budget. To learn more, check out this free guide on Remote Video Surveillance: More Than Just Catching Criminals or contact us.