NICB Reports That Heavy Equipment Thefts Are Down Since 2008

Scrap Heap CraneA 19% reduction in heavy equipment thefts points to better site management and more security-conscious operators

The NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) and the NER (National Equipment Registry) have partnered up to examine data that has been collected and disseminated by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) related to heavy equipment theft over the past few years. A positive trend that was discovered after analysis of this information was the marked decrease in actual thefts of heavy equipment. In fact, the reduction amounts to 19% fewer claims of equipment theft in 2012, versus claims submitted in 2008.

Interestingly, the data indicates that the three most stolen pieces of equipment in 2012 were riding mowers, followed by loaders (skid steer or wheeled loaders), and tractors (both wheeled or tracked units). Riding mowers were among the most stolen pieces of equipment - most likely due to their prolific numbers and the ease in which they can simply be driven away by a thief.

Keep your equipment safe by following these simple steps

Industry analysts point out that heavy equipment thefts can be minimized by following these key steps:

* If a theft occurs, notify the manufacturer immediately. Anyone who takes the stolen machine for service may tip off the manufacturer's stolen equipment database. This may not necessarily help prevent theft, but it can help in the recovery efforts.

* Inscribe your name or the name of your company on several parts of your machine. For example, an excavator should be marked on the boom, the bucket, the chassis, and on any additional tools or implements that accompany the machine.

* Consider having your larger machines rewired to accept the new "smart keys" that are making it harder and harder for thieves to simply hotwire your big machines. CAT is bringing to market a sophisticated system that can be retrofitted to nearly any existing machine -rendering it relatively tamper-proof.

* Remove wheels or at least one wheel from any trailered piece of equipment. Then, attach a steel bar or a square of steel to the axle using locking lug nuts. This will prevent a thief from simply hooking up your trailer to his rig and driving away.

* Install a recovery device on your equipment similar to the Lo-Jack units that are on the market today. Again, this won't necessarily prevent the theft in the first place, but those who do decide to steal your goods will most likely be caught shortly after the crime occurs.

One of the most concerning statistics that was uncovered during the recent study was that only about 20% of the stolen machinery was ever recovered. Insurance companies and rental fleets eventually end up bearing the brunt of this financial loss, so any method that reduces the theft rate will certainly be welcomed by these groups. With construction activity on the rise right now, more and more heavy equipment will be put to use on jobsites across the nation. It is imperative that construction managers and job site foremen understand the importance of securing these valuable machines.

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