According to a recent report by LoJack, skid steers, backhoes, air compressors and generators made up approximately 69 percent of construction equipment stolen in 2002, with 82 percent of all stolen equipment being less than five years old. The report, released this month, reveals what pieces of equipment are stolen most often, who is responsible and where and when theft is most likely.
“We are publishing the report to provide a more comprehensive view of the problem of equipment theft and to enable the industry to understand the need to better protect its assets,” said Donna Driscoll, LoJack vice president of global marketing.
Based on a combination of state statistics and LoJack’s equipment recovery record, the second most popular equipment group with thieves included trucks, forklifts, trailers, welders, excavators, tractors and trenchers.
The results of the report revealed a number of trends in construction theft, including location and day of the week. According to state statistics, the number of thefts was greatest in states where rapid growth had fueled more construction projects. Florida recorded the most thefts, with 27 percent of equipment thefts and recoveries. California, with 25 percent, fell shortly behind. Texas placed third, followed by Arizona in fourth and Georgia in fifth. Findings also showed that most equipment thefts occurred over weekends, when many jobsites are abandoned. Statistics showed 37 percent of thefts were reported Monday mornings when workers discovered the equipment missing.
The report also revealed a growing number of professional construction theft rings, which often re-sell the stolen equipment or chop it into pieces to resell the parts. In 2002, the LoJack theft recovery system helped law enforcement break up seven theft rings and recover $4 million in equipment.
“Equipment theft, especially by professional theft rings, is a growing problem that needs to be addressed,” Driscoll said.
Typically, the longer stolen equipment is missing, the greater the chances it will never be found or will be found damaged. LoJack has a 90 percent successful recovery rate, often locating equipment within 24 hours after it is reported stolen.