Not-So-Happy Holidays: Heavy Equipment Theft Spikes

While the winter months should be all about family gatherings and holiday traditions, it’s no time for businesses to let down their guard. And for anyone operating, selling or storing heavy equipment, it’s especially important to step up security during the holidays.

According to data on thefts reported to the National Equipment Register (NER), over the past five years, incidents of heavy equipment theft tend to rise between December 20 and January 1, with a reported theft loss value totaling more than $5.5 million during that time. NER also estimates that heavy equipment theft losses total around $400 million annually.

The theft of heavy equipment is not isolated to a certain geography or property type. From construction sites, to dealerships, to warehouses, potential targets for thieves exist nationwide. But NER found that instances of heavy equipment theft happen more frequently in cities with increased road and construction projects, and areas where pre-owned equipment is in high demand. 

How do you protect your business from becoming the latest victim during that 13-day stretch to end the year? For starters, it helps to understand the latest holiday heavy equipment theft trends.

Top Targets

NER’s reporting indicates three top targeted locations for heavy equipment theft. They include:

  1. Dealerships
  2. Worksites
  3. Storage facilities

These three locations share many security challenges which result in an uptick in equipment theft. One of the biggest is the fact that these locations are often unoccupied for hours at a time, mostly overnight. Unoccupied periods are extended around the holidays, when worksites and businesses close down to give employees some much-needed time off.

Without any sort of remote video monitoring or live surveillance solution in place, criminals can sneak onsite and carry out their dirty work under the cover of darkness, often loading up a trailer and taking off before anyone notices.

Diving even deeper into the problem, NER pinpointed states experiencing the worst heavy equipment criminal activity around the holidays. Here’s how the top five rank.

1. Texas (19%) 2. Georgia (13%) 3. California (9%)
4. Florida (5%) 5. Tennessee (4%)

Heavy equipment owners in the five states listed above need to be extra cautious, especially during the approaching holiday period.

Pricey Haul

A single piece of heavy equipment can easily be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

What specific types of heavy equipment are thieves after? NER found that the most common pieces of equipment stolen include:

  1. Skid steers
  2. Utility carts/vehicles
  3. Mowers

They’re after certain brands too – and expensive ones at that. NER lists John Deere, Kubota and Bobcat products as the top three targets. And it’s easy to see why. These brands are some of the most popular and expensive names on the market today.

According to one estimate, a 2017 John Deere Skid Steer can sell for $70-80,000.

Thieves see this as an easy way to get a hold of equipment for free vs. paying thousands out of pocket. And there’s quite a busy reseller’s market for pre-owned heavy machinery too. For criminals, this could mean easy money.

But for business owners, losing just one piece of equipment can not only lead to a temporary work stoppage while equipment is replaced, but also to huge financial loss. For example, according to one estimate, a 2017 John Deere Skid Steer can sell for $70-80,000. And, that’s not even the most expensive piece of equipment out there.

Stopping Heavy Equipment Theft in its Tracks with Pro-Vigil

Fences and locks will only go so far in preventing thieves from stealing expensive pieces of heavy equipment. A sound security strategy, both over the holidays and 365 days a year, will include early detection of suspicious behavior and active crime deterrence.

Pro-Vigil’s remote video monitoring solutions are always watching over your business or worksite when you can’t. Especially over the winter holiday period when you should be spending time with family, rather than watching your equipment. Pro-Vigil’s smart surveillance solutions can trigger deterrence features to scare off would-be thieves before you become the latest victim of heavy equipment theft.

Contact Pro-Vigil to set up a custom security solution today.

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