2009 LoJack Commercial Theft Study

Crooks and Criminals beware — LoJack has its eyes on you! The LoJack Corp. announced the results of its 10th annual Construction Equipment Theft Study in a report that provides valuable information on the ongoing issue of equipment theft — a problem that collectively cost owners 13,452* stolen pieces of equipment in 2009, 82 percent of which were never recovered.  

According to the study, which analyzed LoJack stolen vehicle recovery reports for the calendar year 2009, construction theft continued to be driven by organized crime rings, with towables (generators, welders and air compressors) being the No. 1 theft target.

For the calendar year 2009, LoJack recovered nearly $11 million in stolen construction equipment — 75 percent of which was recovered in 24 hours or less after being reported to law enforcement.  In conjunction with these recoveries, police were able to arrest 18 individuals responsible for operating theft rings and chop shops.  Since entering the construction market in 2000, LoJack has helped police recover more than $112 million in stolen construction assets that were armed with the LoJack system — plus the value of other stolen non LoJack-equipped construction equipment that police recovered in chop shops and theft rings.

“Construction equipment theft continues to hold steady and remain a major issue for today’s business owners,” said Patrick Clancy, Vice President of Law Enforcement, LoJack Corp. “On top of the valuable equipment costs, in today’s environment, construction equipment owners simply cannot afford the business downtime, increases in insurance premiums and contract penalties associated with equipment theft.  The increase in non-recovered stolen construction equipment makes a stolen vehicle recovery system – such as the one offered by LoJack — that much more critical to business owners who are seeking to protect their equipment and their businesses from financial losses due to theft.”


Professional Theft Rings Continue to Fuel Theft
Poor on-site security, easy access to open cabs, one key that fits all and lack of product identification numbers/records are all issues that continue to 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 uncovering nine theft rings and chop shops through tracking and recovering stolen equipment with the LoJack System. Overall, LoJack has enabled law enforcement to discover more than 80 theft rings and chop shops since the company entered the construction market in 2000.

The study also revealed that newer and versatile equipment is the most common theft target on the job site because of their higher resale value/rental costs and ease of transport.  The types of equipment most frequently stolen are (in order): 

2009 Ranking                                                                                  
1. Generators/Air Compressors/Welders                                            
2. Backhoe Loaders/Skip Loaders/Wheel Loaders/Track Loaders       
3. Skid Steers                                                                                     
4. Light Utility/Work Trucks and Trailers                                         
5. Forklifts/Scissor Lifts                                                                    

These equipment types represented 86 percent of all construction equipment recoveries documented by LoJack in 2009.  A full 65 percent of the equipment stolen and recovered was five years old or less and 75 percent was recovered in 24 hours or less after being reported to the police.  A full 14 percent of the equipment was recovered in less than one hour. Thieves appear to be reselling the equipment to unsuspecting contractors or, in a few cases, disassembling the equipment into pieces for valuable resale as parts.

Based on LoJack’s recovery data, the following are the top states with the highest occurrence of equipment theft:
1. California
2. Florida
3. Texas
4. Arizona
5. Georgia
6. Nevada
7. New York
8. Illinois
9. Colorado/New Jersey
10. North Carolina
 
The report also indicated that construction theft continues to be a local issue. In 98 percent of the cases, the stolen equipment was recovered in the same state in which the theft was reported.  It was recovered either in a storage facility or in use at another 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 is more prevalent.

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