Equipment Theft Is a Major Problem

Marc Roth, Boomerang Tracking Inc.
Special Collaboration

Boomerang Tracking Inc., Canada’s leader in stolen vehicle recovery, is launching the second annual Vehicle Theft Awareness Month in July to bring the reality and consequences of construction equipment theft to the public’s attention.

Equipment theft continues to be a major issue, and can have an even bigger impact in a tough economy. A new Rogers Research Group survey commissioned by Boomerang Tracking/LoJack shows some disturbing trends in connection with the launch the second annual Theft Awareness Month in July.

The Construction Theft Survey was commissioned to explore four areas:

  • to demonstrate how many businesses are affected by theft;
  • to show how the consequences of theft go beyond replacing expensive pieces of equipment;
  • to reveal that most construction company owners are not doing enough to protect themselves against theft;
  • to provide insight to business owners to better protect themselves.

“Every year millions of dollars in profits are lost due to opportunistic equipment thieves. The construction industry deserves to know the best ways to protect themselves from becoming a victim of theft. Boomerang Tracking/LoJack has over 12 years of experience in the field, and is committed to raising awareness of the problem and to continuing to be a major part of the comprehensive solution against construction equipment theft,” commented Scott Nilson, Boomerang Tracking’s general manager.

Construction equipment theft happens often
While most might turn a blind eye and think that theft happens to ‘everyone else’, construction
equipment theft is not rare, with almost half of respondents (46%) reporting that they have experienced a theft on their job site. Even more concerning is that a third (31%) have experienced theft more than once.

And not only does construction equipment disappear on a very frequent basis, but it disappears for good. Respondents noted that 63% of stolen equipment was never seen again. That kind of statistic highlights the real business impact of construction equipment theft, and that no one can be complacent in facing this expensive problem.

Construction Equipment theft costs money
Everyone who deals with heavy equipment in their daily business knows that equipment theft is growing rapidly as are the costs associated with it, including insurance deductibles, depreciation and downtime, considering that insurance claims for equipment can take far longer than the 30-day standard for vehicles. Until the claim is settled, there is absolutely no revenue for business revenue from that piece of equipment. These common situations can add up to significant expense to business owners, not to mention insurance premium hikes that usually affect an entire fleet.

As far as real life impact, the Construction Theft Survey found the Top 5 Consequences of equipment theft as:

  1. Extra time on the job due to lost productivity of the equipment;
  2. Lost money due to business downtime;
  3. Lost money due to stolen unit not being insured;
  4. Increase in insurance premiums;
  5. Increased operating costs due to need for more security.

A third of respondents said the recovery of the equipment – if it was ever recovered – took one week or longer. In addition, 98% of respondents reported that equipment that was recovered was damaged, and 43% of that damage required $5000 or more to repair.

Preventing the theft, and making sure thefts are responded to quickly and recovered fast are all needed to lessen the economic impact of theft.

Construction equipment theft can be prevented!
While the Construction Theft Survey revealed that some contractors do exercise common sense to protect their assets, most are still very vulnerable. Two of the most popular preventative steps taken by contractors are to keep records of their equipment (59%) and fence in their equipment (40%). But is a fence really enough? In today’s world, it takes a layered approach of common sense and the right products to keep equipment safe. Only 8% of contractors have an alarm on their equipment, and only 6% have a tracking or recovery device. These are sobering numbers given the cost of downtime, replacement cost and insurance deductibles.

Two areas that equipment owners can proactively focus on are applying common sense strategies to prevent theft and installing recovery devices to get stolen equipment back fast.

Common sense includes parking equipment close together, identifying equipment with product ID numbers and implementing off-hours security measures. Recovery devices help law enforcement recover the equipment intact and in a timely fashion. Boomerang Tracking/LoJack has a team on the road 24 hours a day to recover stolen assets and offers well-tested and proven products that are covertly installed.

Equipment theft is a real problem, and equipment owners need to take effective, proactive and timely measures to avoid the hassle, cost and downtime associated with it.

That is why as part of Theft Awareness Month to educate the population about heavy equipment theft and highlight the layered approach to vehicle protection, Boomerang Tracking/LoJack has published the Keeping Track – Construction Edition booklet, a guide to protect construction equipment from theft. An electronic version is available on Boomerang’s website.


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