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Heavy Equipment Theft Rising

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released a report on heavy equipment thefts in 2014. Co-produced with the National Equipment Register (NER), this report 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 2014 based on those same criteria.
 
In 2014, a total of 11,625 heavy equipment thefts were reported to law enforcement—an increase of 1.2 percent from the 11,486 reported in 2013.
   
Texas ranked number one in 2014 with 1650 reported thefts. In second place was North Carolina with 918 thefts, followed by Florida in third with 915 thefts. In fourth place was South Carolina with 660 thefts and Georgia is fifth with 647. The top five cities with the most thefts were Houston (201), Miami (105), San Antonio (83), Oklahoma City, OK (83), and Las Vegas (73).    

As for recoveries, only 23 percent of heavy equipment stolen in 2014 was found, making it a costly crime for insurance companies, equipment owners, and rental agencies.  

“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. “In an effort to increase the recovery rate, we encourage the manufacturers to share information and work with us to prevent theft and recover stolen equipment.”

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.

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