Asset Tracking

How to Detect Fleet Theft and Recover Stolen Assets

June 22, 2018


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Predictable operating hours and high value assets make businesses a prime target for vehicle and equipment theft. Cargo theft alone costs US businesses up to $30 billion each year, according to the FBI. And just one stolen trailer or piece of equipment can cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars and cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. Luckily, Samsara provides tools for theft detection and asset recovery to reduce the frequency and cost of theft.

Today, we’re excited to announce new capabilities that make those tools even more powerful. All of our IoT Gateways can now be configured to track real-time location during periods of suspected theft. The addition of real-time tracking to our Asset Gateways makes asset recovery even faster and more effective.

5 Steps for Recovering Stolen Assets

1. Install GPS Tracking Devices

First things first. The best way to protect your business is to install GPS tracking devices in every single vehicle, trailer, or piece of equipment. These trackers send location data to the cloud in real time, so that you always know where your valuable assets are.

Samsara provides a complete set of GPS fleet tracking devices for vehicles, trailers, powered equipment, and even unpowered assets. For organizations carrying valuable cargo, Samsara offers cargo sensors and door monitors to instantly detect unauthorized entry and stolen goods. All of these sensors can be installed discreetly to reduce tampering and detection.

2. Keep Accessible Records

If you need to file a police report or prove ownership, accessible and organized records will save you time and prevent headaches. You should always keep an up-to-date inventory list of your equipment on file, along with details of title, registration, or ownership.

Samsara makes it easy to find, sort, and share records by letting you store important notes about your assets or vehicles in the cloud and by creating auto-updated inventory reports. These tools ensure that important data is always easy to find.

3. Create Alerts to Detect Unauthorized Movement

You can’t always have your eyes on your assets, but proactive alerts give you a heads up about suspicious activity. Samsara’s geofence alerts send email and text message notifications when a sensor enters or leaves a particular area, so you can detect unusual movement and theft.

Did you know most theft occurs on Fridays and Saturdays? During high-risk times, you can set up alerts to notify you when equipment that should be inactive starts moving. (For example, if your business is closed on Sundays, you can set up special geofence alerts to detect movement only on Sundays.)

4. Configure Real-Time Location Tracking

If you receive an alert and suspect that one of your vehicles or pieces of equipment has been stolen, use your GPS tracking device to monitor movement in real time. Samsara Vehicle Gateways (VGs) always provide real-time location data when in motion, and beginning today, you can enable real-time tracking on Asset Gateways (AGs) when theft is suspected.

To change the check-in rate of your AG, go to the asset detail page and click the settings icon. Within settings, you’ll see a field called “Check-in rate,” and you can select the desired rate from the dropdown. The device will adjust to the new check-in rate during the next scheduled check-in.

Configure Real-Time Check-in Rate

5. Share Tracking Data with Police

As soon as you realize that your equipment has been stolen, report the theft to police as soon as possible. Samsara’s Fleet Viewer makes it easy to share live, time-sensitive information with police in emergencies.

How One Customer Recovered $200K in Stolen Trailers

Recover Stolen Trailers

Blue Lightning Logistics, an over-the-road truckload carrier, is one of many Samsara customers who has successfully recovered stolen assets thanks to reliable GPS tracking.

In the last two years, Blue Lightning had both a tractor-trailer and an empty trailer stolen. In both cases, they had installed Samsara Asset Gateways on the trailers, so as soon as the owner realized the trailers were stolen, he logged onto his Samsara dashboard, located the trailers, and shared the information with police. “Those trailers are about 70 thousand dollars each,” Eran Blitzblau explained, and luckily, he and the police recovered both of them.

Beyond the trailer costs, the company also avoided filing insurance claims, which raises the cost of business for the next year. “Being able to recover the equipment shows our insurance carrier, first of all, that we’re proactive about watching our equipment and taking care of it, and secondly, that we’re limiting our damages and claims.” With Samsara’s continuous asset tracking, Blue Lightning reduced their reliance on insurance payouts and avoided increased rates. “Insurance is the biggest cost in this business,” Eran said, “so it has a huge impact on our bottom line.”


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