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Equipment Theft Prevention

According to the National Equipment Register, hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment is stolen from equipment dealers, jobsites and equipment yards throughout the United States each year. Unfortunately, most of this equipment is never recovered. While complete statistics do not exist, it appears that equipment theft continues to rise.

Implementing a comprehensive, layered theft prevention program can help reduce the frequency of equipment theft. By using multiple layers of security, equipment dealers can better protect their inventory and property.

Inventory Controls

Maintain an inventory record of all equipment and other valuable assets in both open lots and buildings. Update this regularly as equipment is sold and new stock is received. Make sure your insurance carrier has the most current inventory record to make sure proper coverages are in place, and that premium isn’t being charge for equipment not longer in your possession.

Personnel Controls

Perform reference and background checks on all potential employees prior to hiring them. Existing employees should also undergo these checks. Be sure to obtain appropriate authorization prior to performing any check. Have a key and/or access program for equipment to track who has access to the keys and thus, to the equipment.

Perimeter Barriers

When designed and installed correctly, perimeter barriers are some of the most effective physical security elements available. These barriers help keep equipment in and potential thieves out. Options for perimeter barriers include:

  • High quality exterior LED lighting
  • Fencing and gates
  • Rail systems and bollards
  • Signage
  • Gate access control
  • Video monitoring system

Perimeter Intrusion Detection

Fences and other barriers are imperfect. A detection system can provide notification when barriers have been breached. Thanks to technological advances, there are many options for perimeter deterrence and alerting systems.

Physical Security

Physical security measures reduce the likelihood that a piece of equipment could be easily driven or pulled from the property. Options include special security equipment or changes in how equipment is stored, such as:

  • Chain or cable equipment together
  • Wheel or track locks
  • Kill switches, fuel shutoffs, hydraulic bypasses, etc.
  • Hydraulic locks
  • Removal of ignition components
  • Equipment positioning
  • Storing smaller equipment indoors


Inconspicuously marked equipment can be easier to identify in case of theft.

Security Patrol Service

Security companies can be hired to patrol the site during nonworking hours.

Tracking Systems/GPS

Installing electronic GPS systems or other tracking devices on equipment can assist with the recovery of stolen equipment. Consider registering equipment with the National Equipment Registry.

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