Texas top state for equipment theft

Almost 40 percent of all construction and agricultural equipment theft occurs in five states, according to a report by the National Equipment Register, a company that operates databases established to reduce heavy-equipment theft.

The report, based on 5,000 theft reports submitted to NER in 2005, named Texas the leading state based on the number of heavy-equipment thefts, followed by California, Florida, Missouri and South Carolina. NER’s study also found most equipment is stolen from non-owner premises or work-site locations, likely because of their lower security. In 2005, more than 70 percent of stolen equipment was taken from jobsites, while less than 30 percent was stolen from insured’ premises.

According to the study, theft is by far the most frequent risk to construction and agricultural equipment, compared with other risks, such as fire, collision, vandalism and water damage. Thieves also take account of equipment age, with newer makes and models, from 2000-2004, representing more than 70 percent of thefts reported to NER in 2005.

The report also noted a rise in theft reports from states that suffered damage from hurricanes. Since the end of August, there has been a 22 percent increase in thefts in the Gulf region.

“Not surprisingly, the availability and ease with which equipment can be stolen are the two factors that determine theft rates,” said David Shillingford, president and chief operating officer of NER. “A great deal needs to be done to improve equipment security as a deterrent against theft and to recover stolen equipment.”

According to NER, owners should focus risk management efforts on high-value equipment that is easily transported.

The percentage of thefts by equipment type was as follows in 2005:
· Skid steers, 32 percent
· Tractors, 16 percent
· Backhoes, 15 percent
· Landscape loaders, 9 percent
· Excavators, 6 percent
· Wheel loaders, 4 percent
· Generators/Compressors, 4 percent
· Dozers, 3 percent
· Lifts, 3 percent
· Trenchers, 1 percent
· Other, 7 percent