LVD Security Services

Category — Security News

Construction Theft Ring Captured

A significant crime problem plaguing the Los Angeles community was put to a screeching halt. Ventura County law enforcement captured the Los Angeles based burglary ring after a four-month investigation. The highly organized group targeted gardeners, landscapers, and builders that lacked construction security. Los Angeles and at least 66 other cities in nine different states were victimized by the group of 28 people. Of these arrested, 12 were charged with burglary and receiving stolen property. This group of thieves was one of the largest rings to have operated in Ventura County. Over the course of 3 ½ years, countless items were stolen. This included everything from smaller items like measuring tapes and hammers to larger items like lawn mowers and chain saws. One of the largest landscaping companies in Southern California estimated a loss of $60,000 – $70,000 in equipment in eastern Ventura County over a year’s time. The arrest of this ring also resulted in the retrieval of approximately 27,000 items valued at $3.5 million. Originally, the stolen property was under the notion that they were being resold at swap meets and other similar areas. However, some of the items actually ended up in Mexico and other countries not even bordering our states.

The area of construction was at an all-time high, leading to more equipment, and more opportunity for thievery. Los Angeles construction security or the lack there of resulted in exponentially increased stolen property reports. Some businesses were even forced to go out of business since they could no longer find insurance do to their countless number of burglary attacks. These changes forced a task force to take shape and focus on the majorly increasing crime at hand. Electronic tracking devices were installed in vehicles used by some of the suspects. Suspects’ cell phones were also tracked in order to bring down this large group of criminals. Almost all the suspects captured were residing in Los Angeles, many of which were natives of Mexico and parts of Central America.

July 6, 2010   No Comments

Construction equipment theft

In Los Angeles, construction security is a must. Loss of heavy equipment in the construction industry has become a huge problem. Theft of this equipment has become so big, it’s an industry unto itself. Organized crime rings steal the equipment and then ship the merchandise overseas, raking in multi-millions a year.

In the U.S., reports show that each year anywhere from $300 million to $1 billion in equipment gets stolen. In the short five years from 1996 to 2001, there’s an estimated 64% increase in stolen equipment. California is ranked as the fourth largest victim of heavy equipment theft. Since California has more construction, there’s more equipment, hence, more opportunity for loss. Also, our simple access to the ocean makes it easy for equipment to be shipped overseas; hence the need for construction security.

Los Angeles, like many other cities see a larger industry of theft in construction than automobiles because the machinery has open cabs and often one key operates many machines. While automobiles are properly marked with VIN numbers, which are matched with their owners on record with the DMV, construction equipment lacks ownership records and most manufacturers don’t instill serial numbers on the products. The delay or lack of reporting in losses of these equipment add to the confusion. The lack of on site construction security contributes to the theft as well.

In 2003, records show that three key pieces of equipment make up almost 70 percent of the pieces stolen. 26% of pieces stolen were tractors. Skid steer loaders made up 24%, and backhoe loaders made up 20%. Suppressing the industry is an uphill battle as the crime is organized and recovery rates are low. Only 14% of stolen equipment is recovered.

Non-profit organizations are starting to fight back with increased measures in construction security. Los Angeles, CA for example, has a crime prevention program that encourages employees to call a toll free number if theft is suspected and provides recommendations for them to secure sites. There is also a national training program coordinated by the National Equipment Registrar that teaches police officers things to look for when investigating suspicious equipment.

While the theft of construction equipment can never be completely eliminated, just as any other crime, it is possible to minimize the level of theft at hand. Whether your construction site is in a small city, or a larger city like Los Angeles, construction security measures like constantly maintaining inventory and employee and law enforcement education can make a big difference in preventing a rise in heavy equipment loss.

May 10, 2010   No Comments