75% of all employees have stolen at least once from their employers, and more than two thirds have stolen more than once according to Statistic Brain Research Institute. This amounts to a 50 billion dollar loss a year. Wow!
When it comes to construction, it appears that equipment theft remains a low risk – high reward crime of opportunity, especially in Florida which continues to rank as one of the top five states for such thefts. And no surprise, Bobcat, Deere, Caterpillar and Case are the top manufacturers most often targeted. While criminal prosecution may be an option, it isn’t likely to produce any meaningful recovery. Less than 25% of stolen equipment is ever recovered. Clients may find their only satisfaction is seeing their employee-thief sentenced to jail. There is usually little we can do to recover their stolen money or property which is generally long gone. So what can you – should you do?
– Background checks are a good first step. At a time when so many are comfortable inflating their resume, and worse lying about themselves, run a pre-employment search on anyone you’re thinking of hiring.
– Have policy manuals in place. Train all employees, acquainting them with company policies on everything from pilfering to theft as well as the company’s expectation that looking the other way is unacceptable and subject to discipline, including termination.
– Audit the books. Trust but verify is something made popular by President Reagan. Perform both scheduled and unannounced financial, inventory and equipment reviews.
– Install antitheft devices which disable ignition and electrical systems and secure each job site with locks and motion activated lights and cameras.
– Purchase crime coverage. Employee theft loss is not covered under a standard commercial general liability policy. Buy a policy which does cover embezzlement, forgeries, fraud and misappropriation.