The good news is that the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) in Des Plaines, Illinois, released its annual report showing a seven percent drop in heavy equipment thefts since last year, and a 19 percent drop since 2008.
The bad news is that mowers were the most popular item to be stolen, followed by skid steers and tractors. John Deere equipment was the most popular brand among thieves, with Kubota, Bobcat, Caterpillar and Toro close behind. It was reported that a total of 10,925 pieces of heavy equipment were stolen last year, and only 20 percent of this stolen equipment is ever recovered.
The NICB offers a few tips for deterring thieves. These include using hidden fuel cutoff systems and removable fuses. Park equipment in clusters to make it hard to extract and use sleeve locks that fix backhoe outriggers in the extended position. Also use hydraulic locks that make it impossible to drive articulating equipment in anything but a tight circle.
To help law enforcement with recovery efforts, you should also maintain a photo archive and a specific list of the PIN and component part serial numbers of each piece of heavy equipment in your fleet. Telematics geofencing and other manufacturer solutions are likewise good theft deterrents.