Vehicle theft is a multi-billion dollar crime—in fact, the cost of stolen vehicles was nearly $6 billion in 2017 alone. So, as a fleet manager, vehicle theft prevention should always be a priority if you want to avoid the headaches and increased fleet costs of dealing with a vehicle theft incident.
How can you do it? Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been wondering how to prevent vehicle theft in your fleet!
Who is at Risk for Vehicle Theft?
Vehicle theft is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, and every vehicle is at risk—including fleet vehicles, which can be an even more tempting target than personal vehicles. This is because fleet vehicles often have expensive equipment or valuable assets on board.
In fact, 20% of all fleets experience three or more stolen vehicle incidents per year. What’s worse is that in 47% of instances of vehicle theft, the vehicle is never recovered. Between the cost of buying an entire vehicle and replacing all of the contents it was carrying, a single stolen vehicle can result in extremely high fleet costs that bring an unexpected blow to your budget.
How Can You Prevent Vehicle Theft?
Vehicle theft prevention is one of the most significant challenges faced by fleet managers today. Luckily, there are lots of simple steps you can take to help prevent vehicle theft and its associated fleet costs. So, if you’ve ever found yourself wondering how to prevent vehicle theft in your fleet, keep reading to find out!
3 Ways to Decrease Your Vehicle Theft Incidents
Properly Train Your Employees
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to prevent vehicle theft is to invest in employee training. Most instances of vehicle theft are crimes of opportunity. If a driver leaves a valuable asset in plain sight, it’ll make your vehicle an even bigger target for theft—then all a thief would need is an open window or unlocked door to strike.
So, make sure your employees are properly trained and know not to leave valuables in plain sight or doors unlocked—even if they’re running into a gas station for just a moment or taking a quick bathroom break. An experienced thief only needs a few moments to make their move!
Additionally, the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority has estimated that nearly 20% of all stolen vehicles had a key left sitting in the ignition or somewhere else in the vehicle. So, be sure your drivers know not to keep a spare key sitting in their vehicle and to always bring their keys with them when they leave the vehicle.
Implement GPS Vehicle Tracking Devices
Did you know that 71% of fleet vehicles are not equipped with an anti-theft device? That’s a lot of easy targets for thieves. One of the most effective ways to prevent vehicle theft is to implement GPS vehicle tracking devices throughout your fleet. With GPS vehicle tracking, fleet managers will be able to pinpoint the exact location of every vehicle in their fleet remotely and in real-time.
This way, you’ll quickly be able to see if one of your vehicles isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Then, you can immediately reach out to the driver in the field to find out more about what’s going on and if they’re safe, and if you end up realizing that the vehicle is missing, you can notify law enforcement as quickly as possible.
The data gathered from your GPS vehicle tracking device will go directly to your fleet management software, which you can then pull up from any location and pass along to law enforcement. This way, they can continue to accurately track your stolen vehicle, greatly increases the chances that they’ll find it—meaning you can avoid the fleet costs of having to purchase an entirely new vehicle and replace all the assets it was carrying.
Geofencing is an incredibly powerful theft prevention tool. Geofencing works by creating a virtual perimeter or boundary around a real location, which you can easily set up within your Rastrac fleet management software platform. Then, whenever your tagged vehicle or asset enters or leaves those virtual boundaries, you will be notified via email or text alert.
This allows you to drastically improve your response time to a theft—making it easier to recover stolen assets. For example, if you know a vehicle was supposed to be sitting idle on one job site all day long, then you get an alert that is has left the perimeter of the job site in the middle of the day, you know something could be wrong. This can help you to potentially identify a vehicle theft attempt while it’s still in progress so you can continue to track the asset and contact law enforcement immediately.
GPS vehicle tracking devices are such an effective theft prevention tool that many insurance companies even offer discounts on your fleet vehicle insurance if you have them installed. This is yet another way that vehicle theft protection devices can help you reduce fleet costs!
Once your implement your GPS vehicle tracking devices, another quick theft prevention tip is to make it obvious that your vehicles are equipped with anti-theft devices. You could do this by adding decals or other labeling to the vehicle. This can prevent thieves from even bothering with a theft attempt. Instead of taking the risk, they’ll simply move onto another vehicle that seems like an easier target.
Ready to implement vehicle theft protection devices that will help you both reduce the risk of vehicle theft in your fleet, and make it possible to more quickly respond in case an instance of theft does unfortunately occur? Reach out to a Rastrac expert today!