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Asset tracking theft prevention and recovery

By Julie White August 30, 2023

The theft of assets, equipment and vehicles, whether powered or non-powered, is a growing concern. The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), recently released data that shows nationwide vehicle theft surpassed one million stolen assets in 2022, the highest since 2008 and equaling an estimated $8.9 billion in losses. This is a 7% increase from 2021, and 250,000 thefts were reported in the fourth quarter of 2022 alone.1 

Supply chain disruption, still a prevalent factor post-pandemic, contributed to these numbers with consumers purchasing more goods for delivery. Simply put, when a delivery or job delay occurs, more trailers, equipment and goods are more vulnerable and sit idle for the taking. 

Cargo thefts have also seen a significant spike. There were 870 cargo thefts in 2020, increasing 23% from 2019. The average value of those thefts was a whopping $166,854, which was an increase of 41% from the previous year.2 

Equipment, trailer and asset theft comes with a hefty price for fleet managers, making robust security measures and implementing effective tracking systems critical to mitigating losses. Implementing GPS asset tracking can support theft prevention programs and assist with the recovery efforts when theft happens.

Theft prevention with GPS asset trackers

Fleet managers are responsible for keeping track of vehicles and drivers as well as the necessary equipment for daily operations and of course, the cargo. GPS asset tracker anti-theft devices can prove invaluable for fleets that manage a variety of trailers, equipment, vehicles and valuable assets. By using tamper-proof equipment asset trackers, fleet managers can remotely locate and manage valuable items like generators, flatbeds, dry vans, tanks, drums, storage containers and other equipment or assets.

A discreet GPS tracker for assets utilizes a small, mountable battery-powered unit to monitor the location and status of equipment throughout the day. These also give fleet managers a greater depth of data in addition to their existing telematics system. Fleet managers can utilize equipment asset trackers to benefit their day-to-day operations by:

  • Gaining location visibility on valuable assets alongside fleet vehicles using an asset tracker device for heavy equipment. 
  • Creating geofences with custom, virtual perimeters to see job site visits, duration and asset use frequency.
  • Monitoring shipments to give customers prompt updates on location and delivery ETAs.

Furthermore, fleet managers can educate their drivers and field workers on some basic tips to help them reduce the likelihood of asset, cargo or vehicle theft:

  • Always lock vehicles.
  • Securely padlock trailers, cargo, or heavy equipment.
  • Avoid parking or leaving assets in remote areas whenever possible.
  • Opt for well-lit parking areas equipped with security cameras or personnel.

How setting Geofences can notify of theft and unauthorized use quickly

Telematics, particularly GPS geofencing, can significantly aid in combating theft or unauthorized usage of powered and non-powered assets. Fleet managers can draw virtual boundaries around job sites, businesses, residences or any physical location on a map, allowing them to continuously track company assets and vehicles, and exit and entry into these locations. Improved location reporting and flexible ping rates provide valuable insights into the whereabouts and usage patterns of trailers, containers and other assets. 

If assets or vehicles are being used outside of work hours or if equipment is taken to unauthorized locations, managers receive a near real-time alert. A customizable alert can be sent straight to a mobile device about activities like:

  • Location within/outside of geofence location
  • Ignition/idling
  • Inactivity
  • Late start
  • Entrance and exit events
  • Sensor activation 

To enhance security for equipment that should remain stationary, like trailers or cargo, managers can create virtual perimeters around the equipment, triggering alerts whenever a piece of equipment is moved.

Learn more about how using Verizon Connect’s GPS tracking system to manage your powered and non-powered assets can help you keep your valuable assets safe while simplifying your day-to-day operations and positively impacting your bottom line.

Locate assets with near-real time GPS theft recovery devices

As important as it is to protect against asset theft or unauthorized use, asset and vehicle tracking software can also act as a means to recover stolen equipment or vehicles. Asset trackers can act as a theft recovery device by providing near-real time location and are designed to be discreet to help reduce the likelihood of perpetrators tampering with them. 

The near real-time alerts delivered from a GPS tracker for equipment allow fleet managers to notify law enforcement of unauthorized use or suspicious movement as soon as possible — speeding up asset recovery. Police can be quickly provided with critical applicable information, such as a license plate number, vehicle identification number (VIN) or description.

One Verizon Connect customer, Blue Septic Tank Service, an on-call 24/7 service company, needed a cost-efficient, easy-to-use fleet management solution to track their vehicles and assets. GPS asset tracking not only helped them protect their fleet, but it also enabled them to recover stolen equipment. 

“Our major pumps are upwards of $10,000. If we lose something like that or if we don't maintain it or if the pump doesn't turn on, we can't unload and that's thousands of dollars,” said Aimee Gascon, Vice President, Blue Septic Tank Service. “Our service truck was actually stolen. So, we got on the computers, found it and told the police exactly where it was located,” Gascon said. “We were able to recover it within 24 hours.”

Easier recovery with proprietary EAT

Verizon Connect EAT is now available for Verizon Connect Fleet and Reveal in both the US and Canada. With a focus on simpler installation and an enhanced user experience across asset-only and mixed fleet customers, the Verizon built EAT device is interoperable, upgradeable and secure by design. Key features include:

  • Wired and Battery Options: The EAT device comes in two versions: a wired-install version (EAT) for powered heavy equipment, such as yellow iron and tractors, and a battery-powered version (EAT-B) for equipment that doesn’t have a power source, including trailers and dumpsters.

  • Compact Size: The small and sleek form factor means discreet installations to help recover assets in case of theft, even on assets without power (by using the battery-powered equipment asset tracker, EAT-B).

  • Ping Configurations: Both the EAT and EAT-B provide a wide library of available configurations to meet customer business requirements, including a ‘ping’ on movement.

  • Customer Managed Installation: The ability to self install reduces downtime for customers to get up and running quickly and easily.

  • Extended Battery3: A longer battery life of up to 10 years means the device needs to be exchanged less frequently.

  • LTE Capable: Better coverage with CATM LTE, a low power wide area (LPWA) IOT LTE standard supported across mobile networks, to enable connectivity even without 2G and 3G network availability.

Additionally, with the EAT’s robust centralized tools and reporting, fleet managers can have more visibility into their device performance in order to proactively address and self-heal issues.

Anti-theft devices can help reduce insurance claim costs

Given today's inflated insurance prices, keeping insurance costs under control is vital for businesses. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI),  insurance premium costs per mile increased overall by 47% over the last ten years, from $0.059 to $0.087.4 

Many major insurance companies may provide a discount for having a GPS tracking system in place. Using GPS asset tracking to help mitigate theft and to help increase the likelihood of stolen asset recovery can help reduce total loss claims – saving both you and the insurance company money and benefiting your bottom line. 

To get a detailed walkthrough of how asset tracking technology can benefit your organization, schedule a demo.

1 https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/vehicle-thefts-nationwide-surpass-one-million-first-time-2008

2 https://www.truckinginfo.com/10140921/report-cargo-thefts-hit-five-year-high-in-2020 

3 EAT battery lasts approximately 7000 pings, or 5 years at 4 pings per day; EAT-B lasts approximately 14,000 pings, or 10 years at 4 pings per day. Battery life is estimated for use under optimal conditions. Factors such as low network signal strength, obstacles and temperature can reduce battery life.

4 https://truckingresearch.org/2022/02/the-impact-of-rising-insurancecosts-on-the-trucking-industry/ 

Julie White

Julie is an experienced product management professional with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry in a variety of customer-facing and technical roles. She is skilled in product management, business analysis, product ownership, enabling sales and customer support management.

Tags: Data & Analytics, Cost control, Vehicle & asset security

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