Not long after the idea to secure spare wheels were born, I thought of how many cases have been reported relating to truck batteries being stolen.
There are two reasons people steal truck batteries: The first and most popular reason is that many people live in areas that have no electricity supply. The batteries are then used as power supplies to provide electric light at night or to power certain devices such as radios or portable televisions. The second reason is to sell it to recyclers.
The individuals stealing batteries come from all walks of life. There are the opportunists who would spot the battery on the vehicle, sees nobody is watching, and steals the battery. Then there are the syndicates who make use of mainly the employees we trust to steal the batteries from the trucks while at work. In many cases these employees would also steal the batteries for personal use.
It has been found the most popular way of stealing truck batteries is to remove it just after the truck made its last delivery to a customer. The engine is running and the battery is removed. The truck runs off its alternator, not needing power from the battery and drives back into the yard without anyone noticing the battery is missing. The following morning security is blamed for the loss. Some companies have devised checklists for the night shift security staff to check at night if all vehicles have their spare wheels, batteries, fire extinguishers etc in tact but the system is very dependent on the security officer’s dedication to the function. Had the battery been removed before the vehicle returned to the premises, the officer can only record that the battery or spare wheel is missing – not alleviating or preventing the problem.
I then thought of using the same concept that I use protecting spare wheels against theft. It is rather basic and I like to refer to it as the landmine principle. The system consists of spring-loaded switches (in most cases trucks are fitted two 12 Volt batteries), installed on a metal box containing its own power supply, electronics, a siren and a strobe. In the event the battery is lifted off the base, the alarm sounds and the strobe alerts all bystanders that there is a tamper and indicates exactly where the tamper is taking place. This is ideal in a yard/ storage facility where a security guard could react swiftly to the tamper.
Before the battery could however be lifted, the perpetrator will have to get past the bracket running across the battery, which is secured by a security lock. To a key holder, replacing the battery is no problem. It is advisable that when the battery needs to be changed, the replacement battery should be kept nearby as there is no switching off the alarm once the battery is lifted. This may be irritating to the authorised person but a small price to pay considering the adrenalin injection the perpetrator gets when trying to lift the battery and the only way to stop it is to place it back in position.
The protect a battery system will be launched shortly – A few marketing details still need attention. The proto type has come out of production and looks amazing. Watch this space!