Are you looking for a reliable way to secure your tractor from theft? This article offers some useful tractor security tips to help you out.
Equipment theft is a serious problem for farmers in the US. The Annual Theft Report for 2016 prepared by the joint alliance between the National Equipment Register (NER) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) revealed that the value of the stolen equipment during that year amounted to around $300 million.
The problem also seems to be worsening in the UK, where the rural insurer NFU Mutual found that British farmers incurred a loss of £50million in equipment theft in 2018 alone. The claims for stolen farm vehicles such as tractors saw a 26% rise, reaching £7.4 million for the same year.
Since tractors are among the most valuable equipment used on farms and are easily carried away, they’re at a higher risk than any other type of farming equipment. This is an ongoing concern for farmers, who are constantly looking for ways to secure their tractors from theft. We’ve compiled some tractor security tips that can be of great help to them:
Identify the Drivers of Tractor Theft
Before you can implement preventive measures, try to understand what drives tractor theft or what makes it easy.
If you think about it, various factors are responsible for the rising trend. One of the major reasons includes a lack of surveillance on-farm sites. Farmers fail to implement sufficient security tactics and with a negligible likelihood of detection, thieves are easily able to evade capture.
The easiest target for burglars are items that can be easily driven off or be loaded. New equipment with a good brand name is often prone to theft. A common misconception is that thieves are deterred by sites housing government vehicles. That’s far from true. Any site with easy access remains vulnerable to theft.
Another critical driver for tractor theft is the ease with which thieves can sell the stolen vehicles and parts. In summary, easy access and selling processes, coupled with the good resale value, have increased the number of theft cases. While an individual farmer cannot influence the market, they can certainly implement security measures on their sites.
Install Lights and CCTV Cameras
Security cameras and lights go a long way to prevent tractor theft. Install CCTV or infrared cameras that provide are a clear view of the place you park your tractor.
The mere presence of cameras can deter thieves from going ahead with their intentions. A study revealed that the presence of CCTV cameras is the most effective deterrent to equipment theft.
Even if a security camera couldn’t prevent the theft from happening, they offer evidence of the theft that can be presented to the law enforcement personnel, greatly increasing the chances of tractor recovery.
The captured footage or images can help the police identify and arrest the suspect. However, the level of security offered by the camera will depend on the amount of lighting available to capture clear footages.
Besides, motion-detecting lights are also a valuable solution for tractor security. As an intruder walks across, they will immediately illuminate the area, alerting you of the activity. This should allow you to react before the thief can complete their intended job. Also, motion-activated lights enhance the performance of security cameras too by adding to the brightness.
One of the best security cameras available on the market is the Ring Security Camera that comes with a motion sensor floodlight, presenting a two-in-one tractor security solution.
Install Anti-Theft Tracking Devices on Tractors
Besides ensuring site security, consider taking steps to secure each individual piece of equipment to protect your tractor. This may involve activating wheel locks and ignition locks, shut-off battery switches, and other systems in the vehicle. You may also consider installing deactivation devices in your tractors, running them when not in use.
For instance, a wheel lock is a tough device made from thick steel that locks the tractor wheel, preventing it from moving. There’s no way a burglar can drive off your tractor with a wheel lock without cutting the lock with a powerful steel-cutting tool.
However, you will need to do some homework pertaining to the size of the wheels to be able to find the right wheel lock for your tractor. The job involves measuring the size of your tractor wheel and finding a compatible lock.
If your tractor wheels are large, the Panel Tech’s Wheel lock should be a decent purchase. It caters to tires measuring between 6 and 11.8 inches in width and 25.6 inches in diameter. Some common applications for the device include tractors, SUVs, trailers, boat trailers, and caravan.
Even though the above-mentioned tactics can thwart a number of attempts, they aren’t sufficient to prevent tractor thefts. Skilled burglars should be able to find a way around such deterrents easily. In the event that your tractor is stolen, there has to be a way to recover it.
Engraving your tractor with identification information such as the driver’s license number won’t be useful. Thieves can easily scrape off the information. In fact, the identification details are usually the first things that the thieves replace. What works here is a GS tracking technology.
Installing a GPS tracking system helps you locate the whereabouts of your stolen tractor. This should help you assist the police in getting your tractor back. Some solutions provide an app to make it easy for you to monitor the location of your location.
For those who believe it’s not worthwhile to invest in GPS tracking, they should consider that it’s a small price to pay for the vehicle replacement cost and lost productivity.
Hire Private Guards
Depending on how valuable your tractor is and how much value it adds to your farming practices, hiring a private security guard can offer unprecedented onsite security for after-hours surveillance.
However, not every person has what it takes to serve an overnight shift. Given the social limitations the hours can impose on an individual, they will need to adjust to the abnormal schedule that has its own issues.
Someone who has worked for years as a daytime security guard isn’t necessarily suitable for a nighttime job. They may not be as effective in monitoring theft, intrusions and other illegal activities that might occur in the dark. Special nighttime training may be required for such individuals.
Besides, whoever you hire needs to be well aware of how to respond to situations of theft. Depending on how far they are allowed to go to ensure security and the overall scope of their job, they may require licenses to drive commercial vehicles or operate weapons when required.
You may choose to hire your own security personnel with minimal capabilities and teach them skills. This can be a cheaper option but can offer limited security. A more reliable solution is to turn to private companies that help you hire professional security guards that not only carry the necessary licenses but are also trained on how to react to emergency situations.
Fix a Security Alarm on Your Tractor
One of the most important tractor security tips includes installing a vehicle alarm on your tractor. There are various vehicle alarms out there that will produce a loud, alerting sound when someone tries to mess with a vehicle. These devices make use of motion sensors that create a range around the vehicles. As soon as someone enters the range, the alarm triggers.
The Doberman Motion Detector Alarm is a tremendous solution that covers an area of 15 feet around the unit, 60 degrees horizontally and vertically. It comes with an alarm with 10 dB sound capability.
On the other hand, the Doberman Ultra Slim alarm makes a simpler and more affordable solution that triggers the alarm as soon as a vehicle surface vibrates and can be attached to any portion of the vehicle.
Install Locking Fuel Caps
Another common form of theft associated with tractors is fuel theft. While fuel theft can occur anytime, it becomes highly prevalent when fuel prices rise. That’s when thieves are most likely to steal fuel from fuel tanks of tractors.
On top of that, some malicious acts include the pouring of additives into fuel tanks to ruin the engine, resulting in even bigger problems for tractor owners.
To avoid such issues, consider using fuel caps that can be secured with a lock.
Locking fuel caps can help in the recovery of stolen vehicles. Thieves won’t be able to drive your tractor too far without refilling the fuel tank. Share this information with the law enforcement agencies so they know that they will need to search for your tractor within a limited radius.
Key Takeaways: 6 Effective Tractor Security Tips 2020
To sum it up, tractor security has become one of the most significant concerns following the rising number of theft incidents. Two main factors result in tractor theft — lack of onsite security protocols and the ease with which tractors and other equipment can be sold on the market.
The above-explained tractor security tips can help farmers and tractor owners address the concern. However, your budget will play a crucial role in determining which of these measures is the most feasible for you.