According to the NHTSA, 800,000 vehicles are stolen throughout the US annually. While theft result in higher insurance premiums for all drivers, the victims often incur a much higher cost. Not only does fleet vehicle theft increase insurance premiums, it often creates downtime for fleets due to the lost equipment, parts, and vehicles that are no longer available to complete jobs. Unfortunately, fleet vehicle theft typically increases by up to 5% during economic downturns.
Fleets can take several steps to reduce the likelihood that they become victims of vehicle theft.
1. Eliminate Easy Targets
Thieves are often looking for the least risky targets. Vehicles that are parked in dark and unattended areas present the easiest targets for thieves. Therefore, fleet vehicles should be parked in well-lit areas that are highly visible.
2. Park vehicles in a locked building
When possible, fleet vehicles should be parked in a locked or secured building after hours. The building itself will create an additional barrier that would cost the thief time and increase the risk of being caught.
3. Criminal Background Checks for Employees
Unfortunately, employees may steal vehicles and equipment, or they may conspire with a thief to pull off the crime. They typically know the patterns of the company’s personnel and are more aware of the opportune times to conduct their criminal activities. Be sure to perform criminal background checks on all employees to ensure that you don’t have someone on payroll who may be likely to steal your vehicles.
4. Train Employees
Employees may be less vigilant with fleet vehicles than their own vehicles. They should be trained to park their company vehicles in well-lit areas and keep all contents of the vehicles out of sight while the vehicle is parked. They should also be educated on what a stolen vehicle will cost them personally. This could be lost bonuses from incomplete jobs or having to drive an inferior vehicle until their vehicle is replaced.
5. Theft Prevention Technology
Fleet vehicles should be equipped with alarms. Also, telematics systems provided by FieldLogix can alert fleet managers if a vehicle is stolen. Fleets often use FieldLogix to guide law enforcement to the vehicle’s location, saving them thousands of dollars. Also, a dash camera solution could be used to detect and record any motion that occurs inside the vehicle while it is parked. This could be used as evidence when identifying and prosecuting the thief.
Unfortunately, vehicle theft is very prevalent and fleets are often the biggest targets for criminals. There are steps that fleet operators can take to reduce the likelihood that they become the victims of these crimes.
Source: Nationwide Insurance
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