Even With Economy, Construction Equipment Theft Holds Steady In 2008 According To Study

LoJack Corp. recently announced the results of its eighth annual Construction Equipment Theft Study in a report that provides valuable information on the ongoing issue of equipment theft -- a problem that costs construction companies up to $1 billion per year in lost assets.

According to the study, which analyzed LoJack stolen vehicle recovery reports for the calendar year 2008, construction theft continued at a steady pace with organized crime driving theft and loaders being the number one theft target. For the calendar year 2008, LoJack recovered more than $15.5 million in stolen construction equipment. Since entering the construction market in 2000, the company has recovered more than $100 million in LoJack-equipped stolen construction assets -- plus the value of other stolen non-LoJack equipped construction equipment police recovered in chop shops and theft rings.

Poor on-site security, easy access to open cabs, one key fits all and lack of product identification numbers/records are all issues that make construction equipment easy targets for professional thieves.

This year's study once again showed the ongoing role organized crime plays in the problem of construction equipment theft, with law enforcement discovering nine theft rings and chop shops through tracking and recovering stolen equipment with the LoJack System. Through these discoveries, police recovered more than $2 million in additional stolen assets that were not LoJack-equipped.

In one theft ring bust, the LoJack System helped the Miami-area police find a major construction theft ring and recover more than 30 pieces of construction equipment/commercial vehicles -- including welders, compressors, generators, weed whackers and hedge trimmers -- valued at approximately $1.5 million.

Overall, LoJack has enabled law enforcement to discover more than 70 theft rings and chop shops since entering the construction market.

The study also revealed that newer equipment on the job site is the most common theft target because of higher resale value. The types of equipment most frequently stolen are (in order):

1. Backhoe Loaders/Skip Loaders/Wheel Loaders/Track Loaders
2. Light Utility/Work Trucks and Trailers
3. Generators/Air Compressors/Welders
4. Skid Steers
5. Forklifts/Scissor Lifts

These equipment types represented more than 75 percent of all construction equipment recoveries documented by LoJack in 2008. A full 66 percent of the equipment stolen and recovered was five years old or less and a full 72 percent was recovered in 24 hours or less after being reported to the police.

Based on LoJack's recovery data, the following are the top states with the highest occurrence of equipment theft:

2008 Ranking
1. California
2. Florida
3. Texas
4. Nevada
5. Arizona
6. Georgia
7. New Jersey
8. New York
9. Illinois
10. Maryland

The report also indicated that construction theft is a local issue. In 97 percent of the cases, the stolen equipment was recovered in the same state in which the theft was reported. It was either in a storage facility or in use at another local jobsite. Unlike auto theft, which has a higher incidence in major cities around the country, construction theft is not confined to city streets and urban areas. Rather, it often occurs in suburban areas where construction activity has been high.

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