Best Practices

Theft Prevention

Several proactive actions can be put into practice to discourage heavy equipment theft. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates annual losses from heavy equipment theft are as high as $1 billion. Costs associated with theft include equipment replacement, short-term rentals, lost time dealing with law enforcement and adjusters, labor costs due to downtime, and penalties that may transpire if a project is delayed.

Read our helpful tips and learn how to deter theft through site and equipment security.

Deter Theft through Site Security


  • Secure fencing around the worksite. Fencing should be see-through material such as chain link, so trespassers can be seen from the outside.
  • Fences should be at least 8 feet high with posts. The posts should be spaced no greater than the width of the narrowest unit in the fleet.
  • Use barbed wire or razor tape at the top of fences.
  • Conduct routine fence inspections, and immediately repair any damage.

Warning Signs

  • Post "Warning" or "No Trespassing" signs around the perimeter of your worksite. Outline what laws will be broken and the penalty enforced if ignored.
  • Register each unit on a national database used by law enforcement. Add a decal warning thieves that the equipment is registered.


  • Gates should have a padlock permanently attached to the fence.
  • If possible, have only one entrance/exit to the site.


  • Lights should be placed along the border of the property and aimed in at the worksite.
  • Conduct routine lighting inspections and promptly change the light bulbs.

Deter Theft through Equipment Security

Clearly Mark Equipment

  • Have a welder engrave your company name on the buckets, boom and frame of your equipment.

Anchor Equipment

  • Secure unattended on-site equipment with chain or cable.
  • Paint the chains with a bright color for an added deterrent.

Immobilize Equipment

  • Remove hitch on towed equipment or trailers.
  • Take off tires on equipment that is not being used regularly.
  • Install theft prevention devices that disable fuel, hydraulic and/or electrical systems on higher value equipment.
  • Consider removing wires and/or battery on larger equipment.
  • Install a GPS tracking device on larger equipment

Increase the Odds of Recovering Stolen Equipment

Be prepared in the event your equipment is stolen. Reduce downtime and keep accurate records to help aid the police investigation. Increase the odds of recovering stolen equipment if you follow a few record keeping tips.

Maintain Records

  • Maintain detailed and accurate inventory of all equipment on a worksite. Include record year, manufacturer, model number and serial number.
  • Take photos of all units from each side and update photos as needed.
  • Record all modifications like paint color and report to the police to help aid identification and proof of ownership.
  • Register your equipment on a national database that works with law enforcement such as the National Equipment Register (NER) -