Theft from vehicles and sets accounts for more than half of all equipment theft. Theft is an Industry Epidemic and here are some guidelines to assist you to reduce this growing problem.

Q. Would you leave £200,000 (of anything) in an unattended vehicle?
A. Many do and equipment is subsequently stolen and sometimes not insured.

Theft is an Industry Epidemic.

Incidents reported to Rental Guard (the US and now international anti theft/fraud site) in 2014-2015:

  • Over $8 million dollars of stolen equipment (est. value)
  • Incidents in 23 cities worldwide, and in 13 U.S. states
  • 32 incidents in Los Angeles and New York alone
  • Losses from a single incident exceeding $280,000

Theft hurts everyone

It disrupts production schedules, affects insurance rates and rental rates, and reduces availability of hard-to-replace equipment.

Our industry can no longer afford to be a soft target and you can help.

What You Should Know

  • Do not leave equipment unattended in a vehicle. Minimal security measures, such as vehicle door locks, pad locks or lift gates, are entirely inadequate to deter a professional thief who is targeting high-value equipment.
  • Criminals know the value of gear. They have walked into filming locations and taken cameras and lens cases right from the staging area. They will follow a vehicle from the rental house and wait for an opportunity to break into (or steal) it when it is unattended or parked overnight.
  • Drivers should plan trips to avoid stops, such as for food or fuel, when transporting high-value equipment.
  • When shooting on location with public traffic (such as a restaurant on a busy city street), assign responsibility for watching over high-value gear and preventing intrusion by the public.
  • Some short-term insurance policies exclude theft from an unattended vehicle. Be sure you’re covered.

Police Recommendations

US anti-theft network
  • A truck should be considered a means of transport only, not security. Security must be provided at the location where the truck is parked.
  • High-value equipment should be removed from the vehicle whenever appropriate security cannot be provided.
  • As an alternative, high-value items could be locked inside a safe or welded cage within the vehicle.
  • Parking security should be assessed and vetted (locked gates, guard on duty, video, lighting?).
  • Using a “bonded lot” provides absolutely no protection against theft.
  • Do not rely on the lift gate to provide security. The lift gate is almost always operable without the keys to the vehicle. (Some vehicles have a kill switch in the cab.) Another security weakness is trucks that have a cargo area that is accessible from the cab.
  • Vehicles that are painted with a company name or logo may raise the risk of break-in, as it draws attention to vehicles likely to contain expensive equipment.
xhire logo
UK anti-fraud network

If you suspect that a piece of equipment you are working with is stolen, check the RENTAL GUARD website or Xhire, the UK-only anti-fraud site and contact ESTA. Reporting stolen equipment and searching the database is free. If equipment is stolen from your shoot, have the equipment owner report it to RENTAL GUARD or Xhire. You’ll be doing them and the industry a favour.

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