The landscape industry is targeted for reasons including: they have high valued equipment that is easy to move, equipment is not always secured at the primary business location and/or at the jobsite, and some companies do not always maintain proper records and inventories on equipment.
Why do thieves target equipment?
Equipment theft is a billion dollar industry and that being said, it is a crime where the reward is greater than the risk. The majority of stolen equipment is never recovered and many of the thieves continue to get away with the thefts. Recovery of equipment is difficult for several reasons. Some of the main reasons are: there is not a mandatory equipment database that police are able to rely on like with an automobile, identification of the equipment can be difficult, and the time of discovering that a theft has occurred can take days or sometimes weeks, depending on when the equipment is needed or used. In addition, equipment is not titled or registered like a car, so when someone buys used equipment it is difficult for them to know if it is stolen or not.
What can you do to deter theft?
Although 100% prevention may not be obtainable there are several things that you can do to deter theft and increase your chances of having the stolen items returned to you. Remember that if you can make your equipment a more difficult target, then a lot of the time, thieves will move on and leave your equipment alone.
For the equipment:
1. Register your high value mobile equipment with the National Equipment Registry (NER) www.nerusa.com. Once a piece of equipment is registered, NER will send you a decal to place on the equipment.
2. Customize the equipment by painting it with unique colors and your company logo. This will make it harder for a thief because they will have to remove the paint prior to being able to sell it.
3. Place Owner Applied Numbers (OAN), that are large and easy to see, on all mobile equipment.
4. Look into installing GPS recovery systems on high valued mobile equipment. Prices on GPS devices have become much more affordable these days. The National Equipment Registry even has a device without a monthly fee. All you have to pay for is the device and then an activation fee if it has been stolen. This is especially useful if the equipment is left overnight at the jobsite. Some GPS systems are even able to set up a geofence around the jobsite and will place a call to you if a piece of equipment is moved from the site.
Leaving equipment at the jobsite?
1. Remove the battery from the equipment or install power & fuel disconnects.
2. Position larger equipment that is difficult to move in front of smaller, easier to move equipment.
3. Make sure all buckets are placed on the ground, as they are more difficult to move this way.
4. Never leave the keys to the equipment at the jobsite. All keys should be kept locked-up offsite when they are not in use.
5. Install theft prevention devices that will disable the equipment if triggered.
6. Use specialized equipment locks or tire locks.
7. If at all possible, do not leave equipment at the jobsite.