Portable generators stay in high demand in the used marketplace – that’s part of what makes them such common targets for thieves. Their very portability makes them popular theft targets too. In fact, a recent study by ForConstructionPros.com (PDF) found that portable generators are the 2nd most-stolen item from jobsites.

Don’t make your construction site a target for portable generator theft! This article describes 14 different ways you can protect your portable generators, divided into pro-active and reactive measures.

Portable Generator Security

9 Pro-Active Portable Generator Security Methods
We believe that the best time to fight crime is BEFORE it happens. These tips will help you stop thieves before they steal your generators.

1) Unload From Trailer and Secure Immediately
Have you ever found $500 just laying on the ground? That’s what a thief sees when you leave your generators loaded and ready to go on trailers. If you plan to store generators onsite overnight, always get them off the trailers and under several layers of security.

2) Secure the Trailers
If you have no choice but to leave them on the trailers, do everything you can to secure the trailer itself. This includes chaining the wheels, defensive parking, removing the hitch and more. Other suggestions in this article should help too.

3) Remote Monitored Security Video Camera Surveillance
Stop generator theft before it happens with live video surveillance connected to sirens and strobe lights onsite. When intruders enter with intent to steal, live security monitors trigger the strobes and sirens and then call the police if necessary.

This news report gives a good idea of the power of live, theft deterrent surveillance:

Further reading: 6 Construction Video Surveillance Tips for Max Monitoring Impact

4) Construct Generator Security Zone on Site
Centralize your storage within clear camera view – keep your portable generators, conex boxes, material pallets, and heavy equipment in direct view of your surveillance security zone. If you don’t employ construction surveillance then fence in your security zone and keep it well lit so that it’s visible from the road.

5) Install Appropriate Fencing
Good construction security fencing is the first line of theft prevention for jobsites. It’s more of a temporary deterrent, however and really only serves to delay intrusion rather than stop it completely. Fence height, barbed wire, size of mesh, the number of gates and the size of your clear zone around the fence all determine the fence’s effectiveness in preventing generator theft.

Further reading: Construction Security Fencing Checklist

6) Bright-White Security Lighting
Strong, white security lighting plays double defensive duty: it deters more cautious thieves and lights your jobsite at night so neighbors and passers by can see more brazen intruders. Be sure to position lights so that they don’t glare out onto the street, and remember to keep your generator security zone well lit.

Further reading: 5 Jobsite Security Lighting Tips

7) Chain and Padlock to Other Equipment
Like good security fences, chains and padlocks only delay theft – they can’t stop it. Sometimes delay is all you need though, especially if you utilize live video surveillance and/or leave the generators well lit and visible from the street. Be sure to weave the chain through wheels if possible, and attach to other heavy items that can’t be easily loaded by hand onto a trailer.

8) Defensive Blocking
If thieves can’t get to your generators then they can’t steal them. Block generators in with materials, other vehicles, or anything else on your jobsite that will make the generators awkward or difficult to get at.

9) Portable Generator Storage Boxes
If you generators remain on your vehicles then consider portable generator storage boxes which not only prevent theft but have handy cut-outs to enable operation.

5 Reactive Portable Generator Security Methods
Reactive methods, while lacking the impact of pro-active security methods, still pack a punch when it comes to potentially recovering stolen property.

10) Keep Detailed Records of Your Generator
Proving to the police and a court of law that a stolen generator was indeed yours requires good records. Record product identification numbers, make, model, year etc, take digital photographs, record the date of sale and retain the bill of sale.

11) Paint or Engrave with ID Numbers
Make it easy for police to identify who a generator belongs to – mark yours by engraving or painting on ID numbers or even your company’s logo. Make your mark big, bold and deep so the chop shop can’t remove it quickly.

12) Security Video Camera Surveillance
Security camera systems – without pro-active theft deterrents – can help you or the police to identify thieves after they have stolen generators from you.

13) Equipment Recovery Systems
There are several different recovery systems, methods and technologies available for recovering stolen generators. Check out the National Equipment Register as well as LoJack.

14) Monitor Craigslist and eBay After Theft
Just in case your generator was stolen by amateur thieves and not an organized crew, monitor Craigslist and eBay for a week or two after the theft. Police often do this too. Google offers a free “web band” scanner service called Google Alerts that monitors the web for you. All you have to do is tell them what sites to watch and what terms to look for. Monitor those sites for the make and model of generator you had stolen.

More Jobsite Security Resources from Pro-Vigil:
10 Skid Steer Security Tips: The Jobsite Thief’s Favorite Tool
Equipment Yard Security: 10 Tactics that Stop Equipment Yard Theft
Job Site Security: Establish Your End-of-Day Routine
9 Ways to Stop Construction Theft During Holidays and Vacations
How to Analyze Your Job Site’s Security Needs BEFORE the Job Begins
Reducing Employee-Driven Job Site Theft
Job Site Security: Establish Your End-of-Day Routine
Secure Jobsite Boxes: 4 Key Features to Look For
5 Security Lighting Tips For Your Construction Site
How Secure is Your Construction Security Fence? 11 Questions to Ask

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In December 2014, Pro-Vigil saved its customers $69,768 in property crimes!