With the news announced this month that all new adult Polaris ORV machines will come equipped with an ATVTrac Tracking device as standard from Oct 1, we decided to talk to the experts at ATVTrac to discuss and try to understand better, the murky and sometimes confusing world of theft and security and the best options available to owners. Our featured expert is ATVTrac’s Sales Manager, Rupert Archer Smith.
Basecamp Editor: Rupert, thanks for talking to us, could you tell us a little more about the landscape of theft in the UK and how this impacts our owners and industry in general?
Rupert: It’s a complicated subject, and certainly in our industry the risks can vary dramatically. Factors such as geography, time of the year, the type of equipment you have on your land all play a part in susceptibility and the associated risks. The one thing we have learnt over the last 10 years at ATVTrac is that complacency is the biggest threat of all.
Basecamp Ed: Okay, so is theft an ever increasing issue or do we see peaks and troughs?
Rupert: Again, it’s a complex discussion but right now it’s fair to say it’s at a high. Of course some months are less impacted than others, but right now it’s at a general peak – the highest we have seen rural crime for eight years. The NFU recently suggested that in 2019 over £54 million had been lost to rural crime and specifically in relation to ATVs and similar machinery there had been a 21% increase in theft, so certainly alarming statistics.
Basecamp Ed: And is this in a concentrated area or spread out?
Rupert: The reality is it’s rising in every region. Take Scotland for example, you’d be forgiven for thinking the vastness and isolated communities are less impacted, but in 2019, the NFU reported a 44% increase in theft. Much of this is very much organised crime from foreign gangs.
Basecamp Editor: So, security is more important than ever then by the sounds of it?
Rupert: Yes, without question. But it’s not just about locks, chains or even our technology, you have to approach security in a multi-layered way, think about how and where you store your machine and even how you use it. The most important element is to be aware.
Basecamp Ed: So give us some tips on this.
Rupert: It’s very dependent on how you use your machine and of course how public that usage is. But we always suggest being as discreet as possible. For example, if you transport your machine in an open trailer, don’t leave it out for long periods on display, put it away as soon as possible. And when you are transporting, lock it to your vehicle or trailer and make sure your trailer / vehicle is locked. Use a cover – it sounds basic, but a covered vehicle requires effort to see what it is, the opportunist thief often doesn’t have the time to uncover to see what’s underneath. Oh. and it sounds silly, but don’t leave your keys in it – you’ll be surprised how many are stolen with the keys!
Basecamp Ed: Yes, that makes sense for sure, but when it comes to security itself what are the options?
Rupert: Well, there really is no substitute for locks and chains. But of course, firstly make sure wherever you store the vehicle is secure from the outside if you can. Then, we’d always recommend ground anchors or large immovable items to physically lock / chain your ATV or side-by-side too. Unfortunately battery technology means portable angle grinders are a common tool for thieves, so buy big and buy the best you can afford. The Secured by Design rating is worth looking at for sure on locks, chains and anchors. Check to see if any product has the affiliation and its rating.
Basecamp Ed: So, that’s what’s known as hard security, where does ATVTrac come in?
Rupert: As we touched on earlier, it’s all about layering your security. We believe strongly in our product, but we always suggest you use a tracker as part of an overall group of security products.
What our system does is give you visibility when you don’t physically have sight of the ATV or side-by-side. It monitors the whereabouts and status of your vehicle 24/7 and thanks to the inbuilt technology, can detect unauthorised movements and report both to its owner via text and email and at the same time to our Secure Operating Centre. Because it features different tech, GPS, GSM and Radio Frequency we can be incredibly precise on its actual location, perfect when a stolen vehicle is hidden away.
Basecamp Ed: Okay, so explain to us what happens when a machine is stolen?
Rupert: Sure, so our system is covert, so the unit is fitted and hidden on the ATV or side-by-side. Installed usually powered and with an ignition feed, as soon as the machine is turned off, the unit is armed. From this point on, if the unit detects movement it will trigger its communications, notifying our Secure Operating Centre (SOC) and sending the owner a text, email and a phone call. If the SOC get confirmation from their call to the owner that the vehicle has been stolen they then work with the owner and the authorities to track the vehicle down. Once police are involved, usually a GPS location is enough to secure the vehicle, but if it’s hidden, our team can remotely activate the built-in RF signal and track down to an area of just one metre. This is often how we achieve search warrants and quick recoveries in difficult situations.
Basecamp Ed: So, all being well at this point it’s a happy ending?
Rupert: Yes, that’s the plan, but on occasions we can find police resources are stretched, which is why we have a partnership with Securitas. It means we can deploy a Securitas agent 24/7 to any location to assist with a recovery – a much quicker way to secure a unit in these circumstances.
Basecamp Ed: That’s very reassuring to hear. And away from security ATVTrac can also offer additional reassurance or peace of mind?
Rupert: Yes, that’s correct. The system also helps to safeguard lone workers with its ability to send an alert if it detects the vehicle has rolled over. It’s something that offers extra peace of mind when you have workers operating alone. Of course, it’s also possible to simply log-in and check where the unit is too, and useful to see ignition state also, so you can see if it’s parked up or on the move. For customers who have a fleet of ATVs or side-by-sides on larger estates, it’s particularly useful in deploying the nearest worker to a job.
Basecamp Ed: Rupert, that’s all really useful information thank you. As we’ve mentioned all new adult Polaris ATV and side-by-side products will come with ATVTrac as standard from Oct 1 2020, so hopefully this interview has given our readers a little more insight into both security in general and tracking security. For those who already own a Polaris ORV and are interested in retro fitment of ATVTrac, please take a look at www.atvtrac.co.uk for more information. Thanks for your time.