Steps to keep your equipment safe and sound

Published: 19 Jan 2023

As anyone working within the surveying profession understands, the risk of survey/GPS equipment theft can have a massive impact on a business – not only from a time lost point of view, but also from financial impact.

Historically, reported survey equipment thefts have primarily been focused on London, with the equipment generally being stolen from the roadside whilst in use. However, recent reports from the West Midlands and South Yorkshire areas have shown a significant increase in the theft of survey/GPS equipment further north. And in many cases, these thefts have involved actual break-ins to offices, sites and storage rooms – or stealing equipment from parked vehicles.

Be alert and protect yourself

With this worrying trend coming to light, it is important that everyone in the profession needs to make sure they have done everything they can to protect themselves from this crime. Particularly as insurance companies will be reluctant to pay out or provide future cover if all reasonable efforts to protect equipment have not been made.

The scale of the problem

TSA has been working hard for a number of years to collate data regarding the scope and scale of equipment theft. We have also been working with other organisations, including leading equipment manufacturers Topcon, Trimble and Leica Geosystems to see what can be done to help all surveyors, not only our members, to protect themselves from thieves.

TSA began an official partnership with DeterTech in 2018. The partnership is leading to detailed data collection and analysis with the police following up every report of theft of equipment.

Steps to take

Surveying equipment is generally high value and highly sought after, so it is important that you protect yourself against thieves. There are sensible steps you can take, such as making sure you are working in pairs, so equipment is never left unattended and being wary of unscrupulous people posing as contractors, even going to the lengths of wearing hi-vis and PPE. Equipment manufactures should also be able to help you with technical solutions, such as fitting trackers, immobilisers and alarms to equipment.

Importantly, remember the four steps of:

  • Lock it
  • Alarm it
  • Track it
  • Report it.

Reporting a theft

If you are unlucky enough to have any equipment stolen, it is really important that you report it to the police, to the manufacturer and your insurer. You should report it to DeterTech using the link above, to help the organisation build up a nationwide picture for the police of where thefts are taking place.

Visit our dedicated equipment theft web page to find out more.