NEW YORK — National Equipment Register recently released its first annual report studying the problem of heavy equipment theft in the United States. Although, complete statistics do not exist, NER said, it is clear from available information that equipment theft is a serious problem that is getting worse. Based on NER's database of more than 30,000 theft reports and statistics from the Insurance Services Office, the report is a detailed study and analysis of construction and farm equipment losses and recoveries.
The report provides statistics on thefts in 2003 by state, type of theft location, type of equipment and looks at trends since 1995 that compare equipment theft against other types of loss such as damage. The report also examines what type of equipment is being recovered and where.
The top 10 states by frequency of theft respectively include Texas, North Carolina, Florida, California, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, Ohio, South Carolina and Indiana. The top five states accounted for 33 percent of the total number of thefts in 2003 and the order in the top five varies little from past years.
Theft levels closely follow the amount of equipment in a particular area — the states with the highest volume of construction, maintenance and agriculture have the highest number of thefts. Theft rates in areas close to land borders seem to be higher as they provide an easy route for thieves who wish to export equipment.
Most common types of equipment stolen include tractors (including compact, utility and agricultural), skid-steer loaders, backhoe loaders, loaders, excavators and dozers.
The study estimates that the total value of equipment stolen annually ranges between $300 million and $1 billion. As little as 10 percent to 15 percent of stolen equipment is recovered and the top five states account for 43 percent of recovery locations.
The full report is available on the NER Web site, www.nerusa.com/stats.asp. NER member companies may request a more detailed breakdown of data.