Study: Half of Equipment Owners Get Robbed, Only 6% Have Recovery Devices

September 28, 2010

Construction equipment theft is not rare, with 46% of respondents reporting that they have experienced a theft on their job site, and nearly a third, 31%, having been stolen from more than once, according to a Rogers Research Group survey.

"Every year millions of dollars in profits are lost due to opportunistic equipment thieves," says Scott Nilson, general manager with Boomerang Tracking, which commissioned the study. "The construction industry deserves to know the best ways to protect themselves from becoming a victim of theft."

Boomerang Tracking is a wholly owned subsidiary of LoJack Inc., and markets both the Boomerang and LoJack brands of stolen-vehicle recovery systems across Canada.

Not only does construction equipment disappear frequently, but it disappears for good. Respondents noted that 63% of stolen equipment was never seen again. That kind of statistic highlights the real business impact of construction equipment theft.

The Construction Theft Survey found the Top 5 Consequences of equipment theft are:

1. Extra time on the job due to lost productivity of the equipment

2. Lost money due to business downtime

3. Lost money due to stolen unit not being insured

4. Increase in insurance premiums

5. Increased operating costs due to need for more security

A third of respondents said the recovery of the equipment -- if it was ever recovered -- took one week or longer. In addition, 98% of respondents reported that equipment that was recovered was damaged, and 43% of that damage required $5,000 or more to repair.

Boomerang/LoJack suggests that preventing theft, responding quickly to theft and recovering stolen machinery quickly are all necessary steps to reducing theft's economic impact.

While the Construction Theft Survey showed some contractors do exercise common sense to protect their assets, most are still very vulnerable. Two of the most popular preventative steps taken by contractors are to keep records of their equipment (59%) and fence in their equipment (40%). But is a fence really enough? In today's world, it takes a layered approach of common sense and the right products to keep equipment safe. Only 8% of contractors have an alarm on their equipment, and only 6% have a tracking or recovery device.

Boomerang/LoJack suggests two areas where equipment owners can proactively focus to prevent theft and recover stolen equipment fast. Common sense includes parking equipment close together, identifying equipment with product ID numbers and implementing off-hours security measures. Recovery devices help law enforcement recover the equipment intact and in a timely fashion.

Boomerang Tracking/LoJack offers an electronic version of its booklet: Keeping Track - Construction Edition as a guide to protecting construction equipment in the field.