According to the Nation Equipment Register (NER) equipment thefts cost business operators between $300 million and $1 billion annually. The five states with the highest frequency and costs in equipment thefts are Texas, California, Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina. These states alone account for over 39% of the total number of thefts in the nation.
Statistics show that less than 10% of stolen equipment is ever recovered, translating into significant financial losses to the construction industry.
According to an article by Ellen Parsons in EC&M Magazine “thieves usually have good knowledge of equipment operation and security weaknesses. According to NER, in some cases these are criminals who learn about equipment or who pay those in the business for help and information. In other cases, they are already familiar with equipment and see an opportunity to make more money in stealing equipment to “supplement” their existing income. Having stolen and sold one machine and found how easy it is, they continue. In fact, most arrests lead to multiple recoveries.”
Equipment theft is a crime of opportunity with low risk and high rewards. The majority of equipment theft occurs from jobsites that typically have unrestricted access, may be poorly lit, and have little or no physical protection.
Here are four simple controls that can minimize susceptibility to equipment theft:
- Control entry and exit to project sites. This applies to the physical access to the site and verifying the background of personnel having access.
- Maintain an inventory of equipment allocated to specific project sites.
- Evaluate how equipment and tools are secured.
- Enhance existing security measures. Consider increased lighting, use of surveillance camera systems, and use of on-site security personnel. New technologies are available for equipment electric system and fuel cut-offs that are highly resistant to thieves.
The following articles provide excellent insight on methods to protect your equipment and minimize the losses associate with equipment theft.
Written by John Gumbrecht