LoJack Corp., Westwood, Mass., recently announced its second annual Construction Equipment Theft Report. Based on state statistics compiled by LoJack and the company's equipment recovery experiences in 2002 the pieces of construction equipment most in need of theft protection are skid steers, backhoes, air compressors and generators. These four equipment types represented 69% of all construction equipment recoveries documented by LoJack last year, in line with the 67% reported for the same types in 2001. Eighty-two percent of the equipment stolen and recovered was less than five years old. Other equipment targeted by thieves in 2002 included trucks, forklifts, trailers, welders, excavators, tractors and trenchers.
Perhaps the most disturbing trend revealed in the report is the continued growth of professional construction equipment theft rings, which appear to be reselling stolen equipment to contractors or chopping the equipment into pieces for resale as parts.
Construction equipment thefts also were found to have higher incidence on weekends, when many work sites are left unguarded, and from April to June when more projects are in progress. Thirty-seven percent of thefts were reported on Monday mornings, typically after workers returned to construction sites to find that equipment left parked on a Friday night had been stolen.
The LoJack report found that rates of construction equipment theft and recovery were highest in those states where rapid growth had fueled more construction projects. Florida (27%), California (25%) and Texas (19%) represented 71% of all documented thefts and recoveries. In LoJack's 2001 report, New Jersey, Florida and California had accounted for 50% of thefts and recoveries. The border states of California and Texas showed a 10% and 14% increase in thefts, respectively, from 2001 to 2002.