And I say this very seriously. Our industry is witnessing more equipment theft than ever before. The criminal world is taking a serious interest in what we do and the equipment we use. Based on social media reports alone, I’d estimate that there are multiple thefts happening every month in the UK.
As an industry, it’s time to talk. The TSA is addressing the subject with round table groups and member discussions that bring together the Police, insurers, manufacturers and of course the survey companies that have fallen victim to this type of crime. Surveyors are also investing in more anti-theft deterrents. These include alarmed locks that prevent tripod legs from folding, asset marking material such as the highly effective SmartWater and in some cases, even security companies.
Another option is the use of built-in tracking technology. Trimble Locate 2 Protect (L2P) is the most adopted and has had proven success with several instruments being recovered within hours, sometimes even minutes, of being stolen. Providing the police with a live location of a stolen instrument has even led to arrests. For example, the end of 2017 saw a thief taken into custody following the recovery of over 30 stolen survey instruments from a lock-up in East London. The success of this recovery operation by Forest Gate Police was assisted by one of the stolen instruments, a KOREC supplied Trimble S-Series total station, having Trimble L2P tracking technology built-in.
The cost of asset theft goes way beyond equipment replacement and increased insurance premiums. Lost data affects our clients and our reputation and worst of all, in some cases surveyor safety has been at risk.