Heavy equipment thefts have declined 7% from 2011 with a total of 10,925 thefts reported to law enforcement in 2012, according to the Equipment Theft Report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Equipment Register (NER), which has released the 2012 Equipment Theft Report.
The top states with the most incidents of heavy-equipment thefts were Texas (1,401), North Carolina (1,037), Florida (890), California (686), Georgia (595), and South Carolina (595).
Heavy equipment manufactured by John Deere was the number one theft target in 2012 followed in order by Kubota Tractor Corp., Bobcat, Caterpillar, and Toro.
The three most stolen heavy equipment items in 2012 were mowers, loaders, and tractors. Equipment was more often stolen when left of others' premesis than on the insured users' premesis. Also, theft is most common in the summer months.
Only 20% of heavy equipment stolen in 2012 was recovered, for a total of 2,204 recoveries.
Several factors contribute to a high level of equipment theft, including the value of heavy equipment, poor equipment and site security, opportunities to sell stolen equipment in the used-equipment market, low risk of detection and arrest, and lenient penalties for thieves if prosecuted and convicted.
The NICB urges equipment owners to incorporate theft prevention strategies into their business practices and recommends the following theft prevention tips:
- Install hidden fuel shut-off systems.
- Remove fuses and circuit breakers when equipment is unattended.
- Render equipment immobile or difficult to move after hours or on weekends by clustering it in a "wagon circle." Place more easily transported items, such as generators and compressors, in the middle of the circle surrounded by larger pieces of equipment.
- Maintain a photo archive and a specific list of the PIN and component part serial numbers of each piece of heavy equipment in a central location. Stamp or engrave equipment parts with identifying marks, numbers, or corporate logos.
- Use hydro locks to fix articulated equipment in a curved position, preventing it from traveling in a straight line.
- Use sleeve locks to fix backhoe pads in an extended position, keeping wheels off the ground.
The report examines heavy equipment theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and profiles that data according to theft state, theft city, theft month, equipment manufacturer, equipment style, and year of manufacture.
View the entire 2012 Equipment Theft Report here.