“’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 job site is 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 and that batteries seldom have any identifying markings that would alert investigators to their rightful owners and that these losses are rarely recovered. These are all realities that tend to sweeten the pot for potential thieves.
While it’s true that 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 your job site in the morning, fresh from a relaxing weekend and ready to tackle the day, only to discover that your vehicle or equipment is disabled because the battery has been stolen.
Take a few realistic steps to help address the overall 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 of 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 an investigator locates a cashe of stolen batteries, they need to be able to identify the victim/owner for improved chances of arrest, prosecution and / or the recovery of the property. Can you prove the batteries are yours? This applies to all equipment – regardless of its 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 that there are multiple platforms and agencies that can assist with these types of thefts? CPP is involved with California Metal Theft Investigators Association (CMIA) which consists of individuals who represent public and private entities and investigates all types of metal thefts while providing support and information.
SCRAP THEFT ALERT.COM “is a tool for law enforcement that allows you to alert the scrap industry of significant thefts of materials in the United States and Canada. Upon validation and review, alerts you post are broadcast by email to all subscribed users within a 100-mile radius of where the incident occurred.” This is a FREE alert system that is available for anyone to post their metal theft on. You must have a police report number to file a request for an alert to be sent, with proper contact information for the reporting officer. (Be sure to include photos in jpeg format and list the information for the owner/ victim in the comment section with the name and contact phone. 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 in a certain area, ask an employee to make a flyer with information about the type(s) of battery stolen, your company marking, and when / where the theft occurred and share it with area scrap yards, the community and local law enforcement personnel. Is your company a member of CPP? Please let us know about the theft (and all theft, fraud and vandalism issues) 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 to solve 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% protected against the Bad Guys. It’s also good to remember that when we take steps to
take charge of any situation, we are no longer 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 our 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 @ 562-860-9006 or email: [email protected] Together, We Make a Difference.
By Melissa Somers, Executive Director, CPP SoCal