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6 Ways to Prevent Equipment Theft

6 Ways to Prevent Equipment Theft

Theft is a serious issue affecting the heavy equipment industry, costing companies millions of dollars every year in the United States. Business owners, project managers, and the entire workforce at the job site should take the effort to protect equipment. To give you a better idea of how you can keep your equipment secure, Equipment Trader is sharing six ways to prevent equipment theft.

Causes of Equipment Theft

There are a few common causes of equipment theft that business owners and worksite managers should consider to help prevent theft in the future. Theft often occurs when a project location isn’t secure and has inadequate surveillance. Equipment that isn’t properly registered or lacks proper identification numbers makes it more difficult to trace and easier to steal. Meanwhile, rented equipment is often stolen due to negligence, or lack of security. Stolen heavy machinery or individual parts circulate on the market for resale when there’s high demand, so it’s a good idea to follow tips for avoiding scams when buying equipment online.

Tips for Preventing Equipment Theft

1. Lock Up and Secure Equipment

Whether it’s a new or used riding lawn mower or larger piece of machinery, keep it secure. For specific models, install tire, drive control, trailer hitch, and hydraulic arm locks; or use a hydraulic and ignition bypass and a fuel cutoff for your equipment. And of course, always remove the keys from the ignition and lock them up in a safe place. Theft of job site tools is also common. Stow tools in locked gang boxes that are securely fastened to structures or locked indoors at the job site. Make sure your employees’ personal belongings are secure, kept in lockers, and out of site.

2. Secure the Project Site

Secure the project site with at least a 6-foot chain-link fence, gates with heavy chains, and pick-resistant steel locks. Use bright lighting, motion-detecting lighting, and light towers to keep the work area illuminated and visible during the nighttime. Install surveillance cameras and hire security guards for the job site and perimeters of the work area. Take the step to install alarms and motion sensors. Lock all doors and windows, leave on the lights in buildings at the work zone, and keep vehicles parked nearby or in front of the worksite to deter theft.

3. Keep Up with Equipment Records

You should have records or documentation with your heavy equipment that includes information on its make, model, series number, PIN or VIN numbers, and production or purchase dates of individual parts. Keep this information secure and off your worksite. You can register your heavy equipment with the National Equipment Register so it’s easier to track. Regularly perform an inventory count and take photos of your equipment to make it easier for law enforcement to identify your machine.

4. Train Your Workforce to Prevent Equipment Theft

Implement a system for your employees to prevent theft at the worksite. Have them lock up equipment when it’s not in use, and keep an eye on machinery throughout the day while they work. Sometimes keeping away an equipment thief can be as simple as closing and locking a gate. Make sure your work crew is vigilant, keeping an eye on anyone suspicious hanging around the worksite and informing a manager or the authorities if someone is trespassing or loitering.

5. Stay Aware of Equipment Theft Trends

Read up on the headlines or do some digging around within the industry to see if there are current trends in theft for heavy equipment in your region. Thieves look for certain equipment in different parts of the country to turn a profit based on the demand for that piece of equipment. For example, new or used skid steers are often stolen in the north, where they have a greater demand for their use. And remember, if you’ve had equipment stolen previously, report it to the authorities to help prevent future theft.

6. Use Location Tracking and GPS Monitoring for Equipment Theft

Use GPS monitoring and tracking apps to stay on top of the location of your equipment at all times. If your equipment goes missing, you’ll be able to trace its whereabouts with this technology. Alternatively if it’s feasible, you can move your equipment away from the worksite when it’s not in use, keeping it in storage or a warehouse, secure and out of plain sight to prevent theft.

Business owners, project managers, and the entire workforce can all play a part in preventing theft. Follow these steps and take precautions to make sure your equipment is secure. And if you’re ready to purchase your next new or used piece of equipment, be sure to see all the listings on


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Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller

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