LVD Security Services

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.