Heavy Vehicle Theft Report

The theft of heavy equipment in the United States is gradually increasing, according to a report released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Businesses that own heavy equipment will need to be extra careful as the numbers for thefts of this type of business-owned property has increased between 2012 and 2013, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB).

The report is provided with data from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and examines the theft month, city, state, equipment type and style, year it was manufactured, and who the equipment manufacturer is. It also looks at how many of these thefts were recovered in 2013.

Between 2012 and 2013, the thefts of reported heavy equipment that increased 5 percent. There was a total of 10,925 reported thefts in 2012, but 11,486 thefts in 2013.

As far as the locations of these thefts go, there were more theft in Texas than any other state, with 1,494 thefts. Next in line was North Carolina, who dealt with 913 heavy equipment thefts, then 892 thefts in Florida. After that were California where business owners and individuals reported 734 heavy equipment thefts, followed by South Carolina with 691 thefts. For the top five cities ranked by the number of heavy equipment thefts, it included Houston, Texas with 199 thefts, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with 111 thefts, San Antonio, Texas with 82 thefts, Miami, Florida with 77 thefts, and West Palm Beach, Florida with 72 thefts.

The equipment reported as stolen the most often in 2013 was a mower, which included garden tractors and riding mowers, at 5,186 thefts that year. Skid steer and wheeled loaders were next in line with 1,920 thefts, followed by wheeled or tracked tractors at 1,362 thefts.

The NCIB also ranked the thefts of heavy equipment by their manufacturer. They found that equipment manufactured by John Deere was the most commonly stolen, followed by Kubota Tractor Corp., Bobcat, Caterpillar, and Toro.

In regards to the number of heavy equipment that was stolen and then recovered in 2013, about 21 percent of the thefts were eventually recovered. However, there is no sufficient data on whether or not the equipment was damaged and needed costly repairs. With such a low percentage of recoveries, this makes a very costly theft for business owners and insurance companies alike.

The NCIB has some easy tips for preventing the theft of heavy equipment, including having fuel shut-off systems in all equipment, removing the circuit breakers when equipment is not being used, and having a photo archive of all equipment in order to help track down the equipment. There are also special hydro locks to prevent theft of certain types of equipment, and the ability to cause equipment to be inoperable during the weekends when it will not be used. In addition to this, be sure to protect your business with a current commercial crime insurance policy.