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October 13, 2015 Staff

How to Protect Your Food Truck from Theft

By now many in the food truck world have probably heard about the stolen Taco Truck that lead police on an hour long chase from Salinas to Monterey! But what they may not have heard about is the many other thefts and reports which have popped up throughout the years. A Tulsan Family truck which contained all their savings, a Satay truck that was lost and suddenly turned up in Maryland, stories like these aren’t particularly uncommon throughout the country. They’re rather ideal targets for thieves, mostly handling cash sales and often parking in locations without security cameras. Which only goes to prove exactly how imperative safety can be for any food truck, and how steps need to officially be taken in order to avoid these situations happening to your mobile venture as much as possible.

Luckily for us, the measures towards this goal are rather easy to put into place, so long as we make sure to follow them every day.

The Basics

ft4There are things that shouldn’t need to be said, but we do it anyway just because of how imperative they are; these are the items one puts at the top of the checklist when finishing up the day (by the way, have a checklist for breaking/shutting down the truck including these security measures).

Lock the doors to the truck, those up front and those in the back, and take your keys WITH you; a good percentage of stolen trucks were because, guess what, the keys were there.

Speaking of keys, don’t hide a second ‘emergency’ set anywhere in or near the truck; it may sound convenient, but thieves know where to look. If you feel the need for a second set, keep it IN your house, on your person, or simply somewhere that NOBODY could accidentally stumble upon in any sense. What you DO want to hide is anything seemingly valuable from sight; hide cash registers, laptops, or anything that might seed attractive further inside the truck. In fact, whatever you can bring with you in house, the better, just to avoid them being automatically missing if something happens to the truck alone. Most important of these being the truck’s Registration or Title, which should NEVER be left in there, as others can use it to sell the whole thing.

Location Location Location

ftPut simply, if it’s within your power, find some sort of building you can park at every night, out of the open vulnerable air and safe within walls away from sight. Whether it’s the garage attached to your house, a local shop, or something attached to a group kitchen. In some places, this problem is solved by REQUIRING truck owners to park in a commissary location, but otherwise you’ll have to find something yourself; most of the time, thieves will go towards the easier targets that require no building accessibility. So make doubly sure that when you DO find a place, it is also firmly locked and secure from all entry points.

If you are unable to store the truck anyplace BUT an open area, then make sure it’s somewhere well-lit all night, ideally out of casual view and close at hand. Consider having exterior lights on the truck, useful for night events and good to leave on all evening, along with installing a real or fake camera somewhere close that is very easily seen.

Lock it Down

‘Lock down’ those tires when parked by turning them at a sharp angle, along with parking whichever end is your wheel-drive closest to the house/wall/etc; these actions make it that much harder for those who steal by towing vehicles, leaving the wheels to drag stiff and heavy on the ground. Combined with a large heavy vehicle, it may discourage them from attempting; or at least giving you more time to notice and call someone before they get away for good.

ft5But just because a malcontent might not be able to steal the truck itself, doesn’t mean they won’t go after anything else in there. The Generator, computers, vehicle parts, etc, they can and will grab to take back and sell as-is or broken down into parts. So it’s just as important to get locks on the hatch holding your generator, solid and unique nuts on tires to ensure they can’t be taken off, and anything small that CAN’T be taken inside with you at night should try to get put into an on-board out-of-sight safe or just be bolted down good.

Set up a Cash System, transferring both cash owned and the daily till amount in separate bags, one collected off-site to be transferred to the bank while the other is simply kept in a secure location between shifts. On really busy days, where cash is flying around and attracting potential ‘people of interest,’ one may even want to schedule somebody to come pick up most of your cash halfway through business or near the end, so as to ensure that if a robbery/theft DOES take place later that night, you don’t end up losing the majority of profits.

If All Else Fails: Security

Even after all steps to dissuade others and keep your vehicle away from more theft-accessible areas, lock down entry, and keep all valuables difficult to get into, there are still those who may attempt, and even succeed, in breaking into the vehicle. In which case, it’s time to stop their final goals with proper security systems and devices.

ft2This means, of course, making sure to get some form of Vehicle Alarm System if not already installed; particularly any that will immediately connect with a security company once gone off to ensure proper reaction (how many times have you heard a car alarm go off in the city and/or at night and just ignored it out of annoyance thinking it was just an accidental go-off?). Additionally, installations like Ignition and Fuel Cut-Off Switches will make sure that no individuals can even drive off with your baby without your express permission.

For an added level, or if those switches prove rather pricey, Vehicle Locks can serve the same purpose. You’ve already locked up your Generator and other items, why not keep the truck planted where it is? By now you’re mostly familiar with Steering Wheel Locks, one can also get a Transmission Lock, or even their own personal “Wheel Lock” (aka the annoying boots the cops keep putting on our cars when we’re not looking!)! One or more of these put on it every night, and you’ve basically ensured that the vehicle itself is going nowhere.

ft3

Now obviously, you don’t HAVE to do everything listed here; that would end up rather expensive, use up a lot of your work and personal time, and just be plain unreasonable. But one should do the bare minimum of day-to-day safety here, anything which costs only consideration, and apply at least a few of the additional extra measures that feel comfortable for them as an individual. Hopefully, with the right combination, you can then operate your business without any need to fear waking up the next morning without a vehicle to peddle your wares.

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