Canadian Rental Service

Canadian Rental Association
CRA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: September 2013

I learned a thing or two from the recent break-in at my store here in St. Thomas, Ont. Check with your alarm company to see if the police are the first contact when the system is tripped.


August 26, 2013
By Jeff Campbell

I learned a thing or two from the recent break-in at my store here in St. Thomas, Ont. Check with your alarm company to see if the police are the first contact when the system is tripped. Mine had been changed without my knowledge to contact the alarm company. Sometimes this is a good idea when your jurisdiction charges for false alarms, as most do. But St. Thomas does not charge, and if the police had been notified that few minutes earlier, they might have arrived in time to catch the thieves. As it happened, we had a neighbour report our break-in at 4 a.m. because he was up with his baby and noticed a suspicious truck outside my store.

A lot of people are reluctant to talk about a break-in, but I have the opposite philosophy. In my opinion, it never hurts to advertise what happened and how quick the police response was. I changed our radio ad for the next week thanking the police, our neighbours, the entire community and rental centres throughout Ontario for the leads received. Two days after the break-in, police had an individual in custody, but no equipment yet. My hope is that if would-be thieves see they will get a determined and unified response from the rental community, it will deter at least a few of these crimes.

I look at this whole experience as an opportunity to show that we are not easy pickings. Believe it or not, an incident like this also serves as a different kind of marketing that catches people attention in ways normal messages do not. Putting our story out there has started everyone in the community talking about us. What a way to turn a negative into a positive.

Don’t forget that as a CRA member, you can register up to 1,000 items with the National Equipment Register service. The serial numbers are entered into a database that police across the continent can access when they recover stolen goods. This greatly increases the chances that you will see some of your missing equipment again, if you have an event like mine.

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Our thoughts at the CRA are going out to Mari-Lea Johnston and Karen Marques at Signature Events Rental Centre and all their staff and families following the tragic death of one of their workers last month and the injuring of three others. The crew was erecting a tent in Watford, Ont., when one of the poles struck a hydro line. Jeremy Bowley was killed and three other workers hospitalized. He was just 21. There is no indication that this was anything other than a tragic accident, but all the questions are coming out in the media about safety and training in our industry. Again, we can use this as an opportunity to turn a very big negative into some small kind of positive by reminding our employees (again) about safety around hydro lines.  It is just something that cannot be emphasized enough.

The Rental Show room block at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld closes for booking Oct. 1. After that, it is first-come, first served, so book right away with Travel Planners. You can always find out about the latest events and meetings on the Canadian Rental Association website at www.crarental.org.


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