The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released a report on heavy equipment thefts in 2013. This report, co-produced with the National Equipment Register, examines heavy equipment theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center and profiles that data according to theft state, theft city, theft month, equipment manufacturer, equipment style (type) and year of manufacture. The report also examines heavy equipment recoveries in 2013 based on those same criteria.
In 2013, a total of 11,486 heavy equipment thefts were reported to law enforcement—an increase of 5 percent from the 10,925 reported in 2012.
Texas ranked number one in 2013 with 1,494 reported thefts. In second place was North Carolina with 913 thefts followed by Florida in third with 892 thefts. In fourth place was California with 734 thefts and South Carolina is fifth with 691. The top five cities with the most thefts were Houston, Texas (199); Oklahoma City, Okla. (111); San Antonio, Texas (82); Miami, Fla. (77); and West Palm Beach, Fla. (72).
The three most stolen heavy equipment items in 2013 were:
- Mowers (riding or garden tractor: 5,186)
- Loaders (skid steer, wheeled: 1,920)
- Tractors (wheeled or tracked: 1,362)
Heavy equipment manufactured by John Deere was the number one theft target in 2013 followed in order by Kubota Tractor Corp., Bobcat, Caterpillar and Toro.
As for recoveries, only 21 percent of heavy equipment stolen in 2013 was found, making it a costly crime for insurance companies, equipment owners and rental agencies.
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.