LoJack Releases Annual Construction Equipment Theft Study Report

Construction Equipment Theft Remains a Prosperous Business for Professional Thieves

LoJack Corporation announced the results of its 12th annual Construction Equipment Theft Study*, providing valuable information on the ongoing issue of equipment theft with annual estimates of the cost of equipment theft varying between $300 million to $1 billion annually**.

According to the report, LoJack-equipped construction assets worth approximately $8.8 million were recovered in 2011.  A total of 40 people were arrested by the police as a result of recoveries involving these assets. Since entering the construction market in 2000, the LoJack System has helped law enforcement recover LoJack-equipped stolen construction assets worth more than $130.5 million and bust nearly 80 chop shops and theft rings.

Here are the top-line results (more detailed results are listed later in the release):

  • Most Frequently Stolen Equipment:             Light Utility/Work Trucks and Trailers
  • State with the Highest Theft Rate:                 California
  • Top Manufacturer Targeted for Theft:       Ford

“As we look back on 2011, we’re pleased with the ongoing benefits the LoJack System contributes to the construction industry and society at large,” said Courtney DeMilio, National Director, Commercial Division, LoJack Corporation.  “Not only does the System directly impact the bottom line of construction businesses by recovering equipment quickly, enabling them to keep working, but it helps get the bad guys off the streets.  Many of these criminals are professional thieves who are part of theft rings that may commit other serious illegal activities.”

Vulnerable Job Sites & Equipment Continue to Fuel Theft

As has been the case in previous years, professional thieves can be particularly successful with construction equipment theft in part because it is an easy crime to perpetrate.  Most job sites have poor security; open cabs are easy to access; one key can fit all pieces of equipment; and there is a general lack of product identification numbers/records in the industry.

One recovery story that exemplifies the benefit of busting chop shops involved a rented LoJack-equipped compressor that was stolen and ultimately led California police to not only track down the equipment, but also uncover a chop shop with more than $226,500 in other non-LoJack-equipped stolen equipment.

Popular Equipment Make Popular Theft Targets

The most stolen equipment list has a very similar profile to last year’s report and reflects an uptick in construction jobs, as these types of equipment are most often found on job sites. The types of equipment most frequently stolen are (in order):

2011 Ranking                                                                                                            2010 Ranking

  1. Light Utility/Work Trucks and Trailers (36%)                                                           1
  2. Backhoe Loaders/Skip Loaders/Wheel Loaders/Track Loaders (26%)              3
  3. Skid Steers (14%)                                                                                                                 2
  4. Generators/Air Compressors/Welders (11%)                                                              4
  5. Others                                                                                                                                      5

The top four equipment types represented 87 percent of all construction equipment recoveries documented by LoJack in 2011.  Fifty-eight percent of the equipment stolen and recovered was five years old or less and 75 percent was recovered in 24 hours or less after being reported to the police.  Seven percent of the equipment was recovered in less than one hour.

States with the Highest Theft Rates

Based on LoJack’s recovery data, the list below reflects the top states with the highest occurrence of equipment theft.  These states either have many active construction projects and/or an international border or access to major shipping ports, making them primary theft areas.

2011 Ranking                                    vs.                        2010 Ranking

1.     California                                                                        1

2.     Texas                                                                                2

3.     Florida                                                                              3

4.     Georgia                                                                             5

5.     Arizona                                                                             4

6.     New York                                                                          6

7.     North Carolina                                                                9

8.     New Jersey                                                                       8

9.     Maryland and Washington                                         7 (Maryland); N/A (Washington)

10.  Nevada                                                                               N/A

Industry’s Top Brands Are in Demand

Equipment from 57 different manufacturers was stolen and recovered with the help of the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System.  A full 63 percent of the thefts in 2011 were from the following top manufacturers:

1.     Ford – 22%

2.     John Deere – 11%

3.     Caterpillar– 10%

4.     Bobcat – 9%

5.     Case – 8%

6.     Ingersoll-Rand – 3%

LoJack’s Guide to Theft Protection 

Because jobsites are often left unsecured at night or over the weekend, they become easy targets especially for professional thieves. Below is LoJack’s advice on how to protect equipment and businesses from the costly problem of theft.

  • Keep Good Records: Since titles and registration of equipment is not mandated, be sure to label all equipment with unique product identification or owner applied numbers.  Consider marking the equipment in multiple places with the numbers.   Also be certain to record the manufacturer, model number, year, PIN and purchase date along with serial numbers for all component parts to be able to identify equipment in the event of theft.
  • Secure Your Site: If at all possible, fence in the jobsite and install security cameras and motion sensors.  Park the equipment close together, in a circle with smaller pieces in the center, if possible.  And communicate with law enforcement to request frequent patrols, especially if the jobsite is located in a known high-theft area.
  • Use Theft Deterrents and Proven Recovery Systems: Immobilization devices such as wheel locks, fuel shut-offs and ignition locks are possible deterrents, as are battery-disconnect switches.  But unfortunately, if professional thieves target specific equipment, they can generally get around deterrents.  A proven tracking/recovery system that offers time-tested tracking technology and is integrated with police so that recovery is in the hands of law enforcement is the best possible way to protect your equipment.

About the Study

The 2011 LoJack Construction Equipment Theft Report is based on state theft statistics and equipment recoveries documented by LoJack in 21 states from January to December 2011.  LoJack has been tracking theft/recovery data for the past 12 years and will continue to issue these reports annually to provide the industry with valuable statistics and trend information.

About LoJack Corporation

For more information, visit www.lojack.com, or watch:

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