“ ‘I must do something’ always solves more problems than ‘Something must be done’.” —Unknown
Batteries might as well have a target on them: they can be relatively easy to steal, many companies don’t have any way of identifying the batteries if they are stolen, and they can be incredibly easy for thieves to re-sell for a quick buck. It’s no surprise that a jobsite laden with a variety of equipment – most containing a battery of some sort – can be a target too tempting to ignore.
Couple this with the fact that thieves know battery thefts often go unreported, batteries seldomly have any identifying marks that would alert investigators to the rightful owners and these losses are rarely recovered. These are all realities that tend to sweeten the pot for potential thieves.
While it’s true batteries are a small component of your equipment, it’s also true that without them, your equipment and schedule become crippled. No one wants to roll up on a jobsite in the morning, fresh from a relaxing weekend and ready to tackle the day, only to discover that a vehicle or machine is disabled because the battery has been stolen.
Take a few realistic steps to help address the problem, knowing that an ounce of prevention and effort could make a real difference in the big picture of fighting this type of crime.
Mark Your Batteries
Taking the time to mark all your equipment and their components may seem like a waste of time and resources. But consider this: IF you fall victim to battery theft and report the theft, and IF investigators locate a cache of stolen batteries, they need to be able to identify the victim/owner to improve the chance of arrest, prosecution and/ or recovery of the property.
Can you prove the batteries are yours? This applies to all equipment – regardless of size or value. Marking your batteries can be as involved as you choose. It won’t matter if you mark them by branding, stamping or simply by spray painting a line, dot or lightning bolt on them. Just mark them!
Report All Theft – Batteries, Too
Did you know there are multiple platforms and agencies that can assist with these types of thefts? CPP is involved with the California Metal Theft Investigators Association (CMIA), which consists of individuals who represent public and private entities and investigates all types of metal theft while providing support and information.
ScrapTheftAlert.com alerts the scrap industry to significant thefts of materials in the United States and Canada. Upon validation and review, alerts you post are emailed to all subscribers within a 100-mile radius of where the incident occurred. This is a free alert system that’s available to anyone. To file a request for an alert to be sent, you must have a police report number with proper contact information for the reporting officer. Be sure to include photos in jpeg format and list the owner/victim’s name and contact phone in the comment section. Additional information and evidence like video, photos, etc., can also be included in a follow-up email after your alert request is filed. It’s also worth noting that California law requires every scrap yard to get alerts from Scrap Theft Alert.
If you’ve suffered a rash of battery thefts, ask an employee to make a flyer with information about the type(s) of battery stolen, your company marking, and when and where the theft occurred, and share it with area scrap yards, the community and local law enforcement. Is your company a member of CPP? Please let us know about the theft (as well as any theft, fraud or vandalism issue) so we can share the info with other members and our law enforcement contacts. You never know who might have the missing piece of a puzzle that solves a rash of thefts.
Don’t forget to make sure the theft gets reported on Scrap Theft Alert.com, too!
Let’s face it: We will never be 100 percent protected from the bad guys. It’s good to remember that when we take steps to take charge of any situation, we are no long contributing to the problem; we have become part of the solution.
The Crime Prevention Program of Southern California (CPP) is a non-profit organization working with its members, law enforcement, the construction industry and area auto theft task forces to educate, empower and engage in a community fighting construction crime. For information on how you can join the CPP community, contact Melissa Somers, Executive Director at (562) 860-9006 or Melissa.somers.cpp@gmail. com. Together, We Make a Difference.
By Melissa Somers, Executive Director, CPP SoCal