Incidents of lost construction equipment theft are on the rise despite efforts made by the law enforcement agencies and construction firms. In 2016 alone, for instance, the National Crime Information Center of the FBI reported that approximately 11,574 pieces of heavy construction equipment were stolen. While construction theft happens in every state, the states of Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and California in particular reported the highest percentage of equipment theft. As a matter of fact, these five states together are responsible for about 45 percent of the total number of reported equipment theft cases.
If you’re the manager or owner of a construction firm or own and operate such heavy equipment, there are steps you can take to prevent your equipment from being stolen or to ensure their recovery if ever do get taken. We’ve compiled a helpful list of tips that can help you out.
How to Find Lost Construction Equipment
1. Make your project site secure.
In every project, your foremost line of defense against construction equipment theft is to raise the security level of your project site. For instance, if your equipment will be left on the job site overnight, you should first secure the entire area first to deter any would-be thieves. Have it guarded round the clock by a team of security personnel, and keep the entire area well-lit at all times. Install a CCTV or an alarm system in and around the area so as to monitor the comings and goings of everyone who enters the site during working and non-working hours. Remind all your operators of some common-sense practices such as locking the door and closing the windows of the equipment when they’re not in use and not leaving the keys in the machine.
2. Familiarize yourself with your equipment.
It’s not as simple as knowing how many pieces of machinery you have on a site. You must also be aware of their make, serial number, model number, and purchase dates. Keep all that important information in a confidential database or file. It is also advisable to take pictures of every piece of equipment.
3. Take full advantage of fleet tracking technologies.
You can give your equipment an added level of security by making use of today’s fleet tracking technologies such as 3G GPS trackers. Setting up tracking devices on your equipment will enable you to instantly monitor their location just in case they do get stolen from your job site. You can simply access the tracker’s database via an app or their website and find out where the stolen equipment is in real time. This will help you recover your equipment immediately with the help, of course, of local law enforcement officers.
4. Speaking of law enforcement, you need to report stolen equipment instantly.
This is because the more you delay reporting, the lesser your chances of ever recovering the equipment in question. If you wait too long, there is the chance that the thieves will have already taken it apart to sell its part or smuggled it out of the country altogether. The National Insurance Crime Bureau confirms this by revealing that delayed reports are the top reason why stolen equipment are not recovered. In short, the faster you act, the greater the likelihood of you recovering your equipment.