Lojack Releases 2007 Annual Construction Equipment Theft Study

Westwood, Mass.-based LoJack Corp. last week announced the results of its seventh annual Construction Equipment Theft Study, which analyzed LoJack stolen vehicle recovery reports for the calendar year 2007. According to the study, construction theft, which, according tothe National Insurance Crime Bureau, results in up to $1 billion of lost assets annually, continued at a steady clip with professional theft rings fueling the problem and skid-steer loaders being the number one theft target.

For the calendar year 2007, LoJack recovered more than $18 million in stolen construction equipment assets and it has recovered more than $86 million in stolen construction equipment since the company entered the construction market in 2000.

“In today’s challenging economy, which is underscored by a decline in building starts, it is more important than ever that construction business owners protect the major investment they make in their equipment from today’s professionals thieves,” said Ronald Waters, LoJack’s president and chief operating officer. “Construction equipment theft is a high-reward, low-risk form of theft and equipment is unfortunately an ‘easy mark’ for thieves due to poor on-site security, ineffective record keeping and a lack of standardized product identification information.”

This year’s study showed that professional theft rings continue to drive the ongoing problem of construction equipment theft, with law enforcement discovering eight theft rings and chop shops through tracking and recovering stolen equipment with the LoJack System. Through these discoveries, police recovered more than $2.5 million in additional stolen assets that were not LoJack-equipped. In one theft ring bust alone, the LoJack System helped Chicago-area police find a major construction theft ring and recover more than 30 pieces of construction equipment/commercial vehicles valued at nearly $900,000.

The study also revealed that once again the newer equipment on the jobsite is the most common theft target because of its higher resale value. The types of equipment most frequently stolen are (in order):

1. Skid-steer loaders
2. Backhoe loaders/Skip loaders/Wheel loaders/Track loaders
3. Generators/Air compressors/Welders
4. Light utility/Work trucks and Trailers
5. Forklifts/Scissorlifts
6. Dump trucks
7. Light towers
8. Mini-excavators

These equipment types represent more than 80percent of all construction equipment recoveries documented by LoJack in 2007. More than 74 percent of the equipment stolen and recovered was five years old or less.

Based on LoJack’s recovery data, the top states with the highest occurrence of equipment theft are:
1. California
2. Florida
3. Texas
4. Arizona
5. Georgia and Nevada
6. Maryland and New Jersey
7. North Carolina
8. New York and Pennsylvania
9. Illinois
10. Colorado and Louisiana

The report also indicated that construction theft is a local issue. In 97 percent of the cases, the stolen equipment was recovered in the same state in which the theft was reported. It was either in a storage facility or in use on a local 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 growth has been high.

To prevent equipment theft, LoJack recommends fleet owners take the following steps:
· Label all equipment with unique identifying numbers, including the following:
-Product Identification Numbers (PIN)
-Owner Applied Number (OAN)
-Consider marking above numbers in multiple locations on equipment
· Keep accurate inventory records including:
-Record manufacturer, model number, year, PIN and purchase date for each piece of equipment
-Record serial numbers of each major component parts
· Consider registering your equipment with a national database
· When possible, fence in your equipment
· Park equipment close together and in a circle if feasible, with smaller pieces in the center
· Chain small equipment to larger equipment
· Communicate with law enforcement. Request more frequent patrols, especially in known high-theft areas
· Use immobilization devices such as wheel locks, fuel shut-offs or ignition locks
· Consider installing battery-disconnect switches
· Use a proven tracking/recovery system that offers time-tested tracking technology and is integrated with police so that recovery is in the hands of the law.

The 2007 LoJack Construction Equipment Theft Report is based on state theft statistics and equipment recoveries documented by LoJack in 26states from January to December 2007. LoJack has been tracking theft/recovery data for the past seven years and will continue to issue these reports annually to provide the industry with valuable statistics and trend information.

LoJack Corp. is a global leader in recovering mobile assets. The company’s system is optimized for recovering stolen mobile assets through its proven radio frequency technology and unique integration with law enforcement agencies in the United States that use LoJack's in-vehicle tracking equipment to recover cars, trucks, commercial vehicles, construction equipment and motorcycles. LoJack operates in 26 states and the District of Columbia, and in more than 30 countries throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

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