How to Protect Mobile Construction Equipment from Theft

April 30, 2021

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Key Takeaways

Learn how to leverage GPS tracking and security camera technology to improve site security and protect your mobile construction equipment from theft.

According to the National Equipment Register (NER), the average cost to replace stolen equipment is $17,400. Additionally, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that the recovery rate of stolen equipment in the construction industry is less than 20%. Not to mention that the downtime associated with lost or stolen equipment can delay construction projects and cost your business thousands of dollars per hour. 

That’s why it’s important for any organization with construction equipment to invest in theft prevention. By leveraging GPS tracking technology and site security camera systems, your organization can prevent construction site theft and trespassers, and track down stolen equipment in order to keep projects on schedule.  

Public agencies such as governments and schools have a wide variety of equipment that is needed at peak community times, like snowstorms and community events. Tracking location data, ensuring they aren’t stolen, knowing what condition they are in iskey to delivering efficient citizen services. Protecting public assets from theft is critical. Examples include but are not limited to; generators, speed signs, dumpsters etc.

Read on to learn the main drivers of equipment theft and four ways technology can help prevent equipment theft. 

What drives equipment theft? 

Step one to establishing a theft prevention strategy is to understand the most common reasons why construction equipment theft occurs. Here are the top drivers of equipment theft: 

  • Lack of surveillance on job sites make most mobile assets easy targets 

  • Low likelihood of equipment theft detection 

  • High commanding rate of stolen assets or equipment parts 

In short, equipment theft is driven by easy access and high resale value of stolen assets. By investing in theft prevention technology, you can help secure your worksites and reduce equipment replacement costs. 

What is GPS tracking?

GPS tracking devices are one of the more popular types of tracking systems available to organizations and consumers today. A GPS tracker is a device that uses the Global Positioning System to determine and track locations.This enables location data to be collected and displayed on a map which can then be used to locate something, such as construction equipment or vehicles. 

What are site security camera systems? 

Site security camera systems allow your organization to monitor your operations from one place. Typically, these systems allow you to connect multiple camera streams into one online dashboard to increase your security and visibility across multiple locations. 

More advanced site security camera systems, such as Samsara Site Visibility, provide advanced AI so you can detect activity across your sites in real time. With the Samsara Site Gateway, you can combine up to 25 Samsara or third party camera streams to Samsara’s secure dashboard, allowing you to monitor 30+ days of uninterrupted footage.  

4 ways technology can protect your mobile construction equipment from theft 

1. Increase equipment visibility with GPS tracking 

GPS tracking is one of the most effective ways to protect your construction equipment from theft. GPS trackers such as Samsara Gateways give you the ability to monitor all of your construction equipment from one single dashboard. From heavy equipment such as generators, cranes, excavators, backhoes, skid steers, and loaders to light-duty equipment, you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing where each piece of equipment is across all of your job sites. Additionally, with GPS tracking devices on your equipment, you can provide accurate GPS location data to law enforcement to aid equipment recovery.

2. Be notified of suspicious equipment movements with geofence alerts 

Another great way to prevent equipment theft is by leveraging geofence alerts. Geofence alerts help notify you when a piece of equipment leaves a predetermined location or travels offsite, which can be an indication of equipment theft. 

With these alerts set up, you will be notified on your cell phone or via email of unscheduled movement from a construction site or yard. Geofence alerts allow you to act fast so you can immediately investigate suspicious activity, such as a stolen vehicle or stolen piece of equipment. This way, you can quickly track down equipment and improve your organization’s recovery rates. 

3. Connect your security camera streams into one dashboard 

Having security cameras is a great first step to preventing equipment theft from your job sites but the best way to establish secure locations is by connecting your sites into one single dashboard. With a connected site visibility solution, you can keep an eye on your operations and monitor suspicious activity. 

Samsara Site Visibility integrates with existing security cameras for easy installation. Plug in the Site Gateway to your network and set up the cloud VMS in under 10 minutes. In a few clicks, you can detect and add existing IP camera streams into the Samsara dashboard. Use these streams to create custom views, share footage, and gain on-the-go visibility from your phone.

4. Stop thefts in action with engine immobilizers 

In the event of a powered asset or heavy equipment theft in progress, you can utilize the Samsara Engine Immobilizer to remotely disable or enable the ignition of any powered asset from your Samsara dashboard. When installed and activated, the Engine Immobilizer will not allow the engine to start, preventing the powered asset from moving. 

The different types of Samsara equipment tracking devices

Whether you operate a construction or landscaping business, or any other business with construction equipment, Samsara has an asset tracking solution to help your organization prevent equipment theft. 

Below is an overview of the different types of Samsara asset tracking devices. For more information, learn more about our equipment tracking solutions or reach out to our team for a free trial.





Unpowered asset tracker

Powered asset tracker

Advanced powered asset tracker

Common use cases

Shipping containers, rental trailers

Dry van and flatbed trailers

Reefer and specialty trailers

Check-in rate

Customizable, default is 2x per day

Real-time or customizable

Real-time or customizable


Replaceable long-lasting lithium battery

Powered via cable and rechargeable battery

Powered via cable and rechargeable battery

Industry-leading IP69K weatherproofing


Reporting and alerts

Reefer temperature alerts

Two-way reefer control

Compatible with wireless door, cargo, temperature, and humidity sensors

Learn more about how to protect your mobile construction equipment with Samsara 

Samsara Gateways and Site Visibility transmit data to the Samsara Connected Operations Platform to combine fleet management, site visibility, and advanced equipment monitoring solutions. 

To learn more about how Samsara can help you successfully prevent equipment theft, reach out for a free trial or learn more today.

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