NER Links Catastrophes and Equipment Theft

September 28, 2010

Through its monitoring of equipment theft across the country, NER spotted an alarming trend: an increase in equipment theft in areas affected by natural disasters and catastrophic events. That appears to be the case in Iowa and Texas, specifically parts of those states recovering from flood and hurricane damage.


Iowa always has its share of agricultural equipment theft, but the state experienced a relatively low theft rate until heavy June rains followed a wet spring and brought catastrophic flooding. A notable increase in construction theft reports occurred in the aftermath of that natural disaster.


Texas, on the other hand, has long been fighting a high rate of construction equipment theft. The summer months brought no relief, especially after Hurricane Dolly made landfall in July followed by Hurricane Ike in September. The increased number of construction units necessary for cleanup efforts will, undoubtedly, result in more frequent instances of theft.


NER encourages all equipment owners in those catastrophe-stricken regions – and any others — to take steps to protect machines on job sites, in yards, at rental branches, and at dealerships. Dealers and rental companies should pay extra attention to rentals and purchases by unfamiliar contractors who claim to work in the areas affected by the catastrophes. Such steps may reduce the chances of losing equipment.


Equipment Security Tips

 • Secure machines on job sites with a disabling device or ignition interrupter.

• Install fencing, cameras, and lighting at job sites and at storage facilities.

• Monitor equipment by having a foreman visit job sites to make random spot checks; and make employees aware of those efforts.

• Communicate with local law enforcement agencies, share contact information, and make them aware of machines located in their jurisdictions.

• Don’t park machines on trailers overnight.

• Be wary of new or unfamiliar buyers or renters; always ask for and check references before delivering equipment.

• To learn more about equipment theft protection methods, please visit