No stealing sign
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The National Equipment Register (NER), an organization which logs theft statistics for heavy equipment, has reported that stolen equipment rose slightly more than 1 percent in 2014. The report was published in conjunction with National Crime Insurance Bureau (NCIB), and indicates that there only 139 more pieces of equipment reported last year than in were logged by law enforcement in 2013.

NCIB compiles information on this type of equipment theft and sorts it into a number of categories, including the make, model, and manufacturer as well as the date and geographic location where the theft took place. If recoveries were made (only 23 percent were recovered in 2014), that information is included in the profile as well.

According to the report, there were a total of 11,625 heavy equipment thefts recorded in 2014, and more than 10 percent of those thefts occurred in Texas alone, with a total of 1,650 reported cases. Other states at the top of the list were North Carolina (918), Florida (915), South Carolina (660), and Georgia (647). All told, the increase was only 1.2 higher than in the previous calendar year. In reverse order, the most vulnerable cities for heavy equipment were:

  • Las Vegas, NV – 73
  • Oklahoma City, OK – 83
  • San Antonio, TX – 83
  • Miami, FL – 105
  • Houston, TX – 201

Almost half of all equipment thefts revolved around only three pieces of equipment, including mowers (5,051 — the most commonly stolen item), loaders and skid steers (1,907), and wheeled or track mounted tractors (1,475).

Heavy equipment theft was more common for John Deere, although other leading makers such as Bobcat, Caterpillar, Kubota and Toro also took a high percentage of hits. Because of the low recovery rate for such machinery, the risks for insurance companies are high, leaving rental companies and equipment owners to pay higher premiums or expensive replacement costs.

NICB has stepped up efforts to combat heavy equipment theft, including working more closely with owners and rental agencies, encouraging proactive security measures, and providing more communication to law enforcement in order to reduce thefts and increase the recovery rate. “Having the support and cooperation of the manufacturers is critical to the efforts to combat this kind of theft,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle.