In the Know

Tips to Help Prevent Equipment Theft

Equipment theft is a growing problem throughout the United States because scrap metal and commodities prices are high. Working together with local community members and your employees will help reduce the risk of equipment theft. There are a multitude of ways in which you can help secure your jobsite and equipment. Review the list of best practices below as a reference guide to help you ensure your equipment is safe from theft.

Partnership. Build a relationship with the community and local associations you are working in to ensure you have the support needed to help protect your equipment. It is important to some community members to remain anonymous. By implementing a silent witness program you will encourage more community members to come forward when there is an incident. Establish a partnership with local suppliers and scrap metal companies. These companies can inform you if your equipment shows up on their work sites. Additionally, create great relationships with your employees. Offering rewards incentives will help motivate employees to help secure and protect your equipment.

Law Enforcement. It is imperative that contractors keep and maintain detailed records. Be sure you have an after-hours point of contact and are willing to prosecute when necessary. Partner with local law enforcement agencies. You should sign a Police Authority to Arrest for Trespass form. Fill out an Operation Notification form and ensure the sticker is visible on your jobsite. 

Signage. Post appropriate signs such as "Private Property", "Security Cameras in Use" and "No Trespassing" to help deter equipment theft. 

Surveillance Cameras. Jobsites are most vulnerable to equipment theft on the weekends when no work is being done. Installing surveillance cameras can be a cost effective option to help you closely monitor your equipment. Surveillance systems can be easily transported, include motion detection, two-way audio, and remote monitoring. Cameras can also be used to identify unsafe jobsites and/or equipment operation.

Accessibility. Locks should be installed on your jobsite as soon as possible. Secure your jobsite with a chain link fence and double check to ensure entrances cannot be accessed without a key. Because additional keys can be created easily, remember to change the padlocks on all gates multiple times throughout the duration of your project. Require each employee to wear an identification badge at all times. Employees should pass a background check. A search clause should be included in all employee contracts. Assign one person to visit the jobsite several times through the weekend. Assign a separate person to be responsible for all keys.

Mark Your Equipment. Permanently mark (weld, paint, and engrave) your equipment with a distinct color and your company's name. The last six digits of the machine's Product Identification Number (PIN) should be painted on the roof. Numbers should also be painted in both visible and hidden locations.

Records. Regularly update your inventory records to help you easily identify missing equipment. Document your equipment fleet with multiple color image.

Protect It. Equipment should not be left in remote locations. Install anti-theft devices on each machine, such as Caterpillar's Product Link hardware. VisionLink software enables managers to remotely monitor equipment and provides real time data and location that can be used to recover stolen equipment. Additionally, keys should be kept off site or in a secure storage shed. Install locking gas caps and oil caps to prevent fuel theft.

Contact a Hawthorne Cat Representative to learn more about the ways you can secure your equipment with Product Link® and VisionLink.  

See also: Tips for Developing a Loss Prevention Strategy

San Diego

Ross Farmer

Sales Manager

858.674.7048 office
760.815.4094 mobile


Bobby Whitworth           
General Manager                      
808.676.0353 office           
808.864.5147 mobile