8 top tips to keep your survey equipment safe

During hard economic times, the surveying community has seen an increase in equipment theft. Stolen equipment costs time, money and effort, with thieves having been known to steal from offices, vehicles, sheds and job sites.


Don’t wait till after your equipment is stolen to set up security precautions. SUMO have put together a list of 8 top tips to keep your equipment out of pesky hands:

1. Keep a watch on your equipment

A simple preventative is to watch your equipment and where possible use multi-person teams. Keep in mind that if you if you need to stop during your journey, park where you can see the van from the window. If this is not possible, consider leaving someone with the vehicle while you run inside or park elsewhere.

2. Secure your equipment

Where possible, securing your equipment to surrounding fixed features can give another obstacle for a potential thief to encounter. In recent years, thieves are getting smarter by using bolt cutters and other tools to get away with the loot, so make sure you're using quality securing equipment. Be mindful not to cause any hazards or damage to the surrounding area by using this method.

3. Use a locking device

There are various locking devices available on the market, some of which are fitted in-between your equipment legs and force the legs to stay in an open position, such as the Bradlock. Devices such as a Bradlock will not let the equipment collapse and be put in a vehicle such as a car. It’s a good idea to have a thorough look around at the best quality device to suit your equipment and safety needs.

4. Audio alarms

These are devices you can equip that will sound piercing alarms which act as a deterrent. There have been cases where an audio alarm has been triggered and the thieves have ’ditched' the equipment after because the alarm attracts too much attention.

5. GPS Trackers

Possibly your best friend in terms of keeping your equipment safe, tracking systems don't stop the initial theft but provide pin point location for you to recover it. Many companies have reported their equipment being recovered within a matter of hours due to GPS signalling. Most, if not all modern equipment comes pre-installed with GPS location. The only down side is that GPS trackers cannot be retro-fitted to older models.

6. Log your equipment

Keep updated records with pictures of your equipment and list their make, models, and serial numbers. Clearly label all the parts and accessories as this will help identify your equipment if it falls into the wrong hands.

7. Educate

A lack of understanding about the specialist nature and cost of survey equipment can often results in a slow response to the equipment being recovered. We hope to see this change in the future and the crime rates within our community decrease with the help of the authorities and good safety strategies in place. Where you can, try and educate people.

8. Act quickly

Lastly but certainly not least, you must act fast by reporting your equipment stolen as soon as possible. In most cases, thieves will not keep stolen equipment in one place for any lengthily period. Report the theft to the police and various other organisations such as local equipment dealers, pawn shops and the manufacturer. We suggest you also use photos and descriptions on your social media pages to help spread the word and keep eyes peeled for the culprits and your stolen goods.

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