The National Insurance Crime Bureau today released a report on heavy equipment thefts in 2012. This report, co-produced with the National Equipment Register (NER), 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 (type) and year of manufacture. The report also examines heavy equipment recoveries in 2012 based on those same criteria.
In 2012, a total of 10,925 heavy equipment thefts were reported to law enforcement - a decrease of 7 percent from the 11,705 reported in 2011. When compared with the 13,511 reported thefts in 2008, there has been an overall 19 percent reduction in heavy equipment thefts.
Texas ranked number one in 2012 with 1,401 reported thefts. In second place was North Carolina with 1,037 thefts followed by Florida in third with 890 thefts. In fourth place was California with 686 thefts and tied for fifth were Georgia and South Carolina with 595 each. The top five cities with the most thefts were Houston, Texas (163); Miami, Fla. (107); Conroe, Texas (83); Oklahoma City, Okla. (79) and Fresno, Calif. (64).
The three most stolen heavy equipment items in 2012 were:
- Mowers (riding or garden tractor: 5) (riding or garden tractor: 363)
- Loaders (skid steer, wheeled: 1,943)
- Tractors (wheeled or tracked: 1) (wheeled or tracked: 459)
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.
As for recoveries, only 20 percent of heavy equipment stolen in 2012 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.
Anyone with information concerning heavy equipment theft or insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting our web site at www.nicb.org.