Are you ready for cargo thieves? 2022 saw a 15% increase in theft compared to 2021 and 2023 is maintaining that momentum. Wherever you find a lot of cargo, there’s going to be an increase in theft and thieves are always looking for the low-hanging fruit. It’s time to secure your orchard.
Hard statistics: With 417 reported cargo thefts in 2022, California led all states followed by Texas with 223 and Florida with 153. Hotspots for cargo theft can be found in and around port areas, so it is no surprise that these 3 states are at the top of the list. Household goods was the #1 stolen item for all of 2022, electronics was #2 followed by food and beverage commodities. The average value of a stolen load was just over $214,000.
The majority of cargo theft incidents are committed by organized crime groups and not simply opportunists. Groups like these have customers and their theft activities are driven by the demand of those customers. This is why theft trends change so often. So, if you are hauling a product that is of significant value, desirability or one that’s short in supply you’re likely to be targeted.
While the most common method of cargo theft is surveilling shipments outside of busy distribution centers, there has been an increase in strategic thefts, which include identity theft, fictitious pickups and double brokering scams. With the use of fraud and deception, thieves will steal the identity of a legitimate trucking company and pose as that company on load boards or the internet to pickup shipments. The tactics unscrupulous individuals use to steal loads are constantly evolving. Thieves have been known to create and post false loads and solicit bids for those loads in order to garner the information they need to steal a company’s identity.
What can you do to better protect your cargo?
For those that store cargo at their facility, here are two starting points: 1) conduct an audit of your facility for: lighting; fencing; surveillance and security – No low-hanging fruit! 2) Review guidelines for limiting/allowing entry and access - especially during off-peak hours 3) Smaller groups of thieves and insiders have given steam to pilfering or less than full-load shipments. It is imperative to lock and seal your loads and monitor them regularly for signs of tampering.
For the driver, listed here are some things to consider. 1) when possible, vary your route and your breaks. 2) use locks and seals on your equipment. 3) be aware that leaving your truck unattended and/or unlocked can make you an easy victim. 4) park in secured lots with the trailer doors against a wall. 5) Maintain regular communication with your dispatcher, and notify them of anything suspicious or odd. 6) Do not discuss your load!