Cargo theft bounced from “High” to “Extreme” on CargoNet’s Cargo Theft Threat Level indicator at the end of 2022. So far in 2023 it has stayed in the “High” or “Extreme” category. What’s driving the surge in cargo theft?
Holidays: The end of year holidays are traditionally a time cargo thieves strike. More freight tends to be moving and in-demand gifts are targeted. Trucks are often left unattended during the holiday season and warehouses/distribution centers are closed or running on shortened hours, allowing thieves additional time to steal or pilferage.
Scarcity and Cost Driving Illicit Market Demand: Many consumer items have become hard to get or their cost has risen substantially due to inflation. Cargo thieves target these types of items knowing there is a market for a quick sale after the theft has occurred. Currently we are seeing this happen to higher cost food items such as meat as well as electronics including computer graphics cards.
Fleets and Drivers Without a Plan: Benjamin Franklin's quote: “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail” is accurate in the security industry. Those without a layered security plan in place to prevent theft may find themselves scrambling after an event occurs. Plan ahead by making sure parking for trips is secured and layers of security are in place to protect the equipment and load.
Theft Activity at Major Intermodal Hubs: According to CargoNet’s 2022 Supply Chain Risk Trends Analysis, “California remained the top state for reported events in 2022 and theft in the state increased 41% year-over-year. Computer and green energy components were some of the most frequently stolen items of the year and California is a major logistics hub for these items. Theft in Georgia increased by 34% year-over-year, due in part to organized crime groups that took advantage of increased traffic to the Port of Savannah.”
Shrinkage in Cargo Theft Task Forces: Many states have reduced or shut down their task force focused on cargo theft. Those that have remained now have fewer resources leading to less manpower to investigate theft and organized crime groups.
Fictitious Cargo Pickups: Fictitious pickups are a highly specialized, internet-based form of cargo theft that requires skill in document forgery. The fraud occurs when a thief subcontracts the shipment to a legitimate motor carrier and then has the shipment misdirected to another address. According to CargoNet’s 2022 Supply Chain Risk Trends Analysis, “CargoNet recorded 96 more fictitious pickups in 2022 compared to the year prior, a 600% increase year-over-year.“
What can fleets do to protect cargo and equipment?
Utilize Heavy Duty Physical Security: Depending on the type of semi-trailer you or your fleet own, there are various security devices to prevent theft and pilferage. ENFORCER products include ABLOY® heavy duty padlocks and security devices that incorporate ABLOY lock cylinders or padlocks. ABLOY locks function reliably in extreme environments and allow for various master keying systems.
Multiple locks should be used to secure cargo and equipment. To prevent break-ins and pilferages of swing door trailers seek a robust lock such as the ENFORCER Adjustable Lock or hasp and padlock assembly. If you have a roll up door trailer several options are available including the CargoGuard which completely covers and protects the handle and padlock assembly from pry bar or cutting tools. To prevent unauthorized hook up to dropped trailers, consider a king pin lock. To secure an unattended truck, utilize an easy to install Air Cuff Lock.
Install Warehouse/Distribution Center Security: According to CargoNet’s 2022 Supply Chain Risk Trends Analysis, the top targeted location for theft was Warehouse/Distribution Centers. Install a full-perimeter fence around your location to protect any equipment or goods that are stored outdoors. Electric fences are a good deterrent to stop theft and should be considered. Add surveillance cameras as an additional layer.
Implement Driver Education: Theft can be reduced by educating drivers on current theft statistics and trends. Providing drivers with information on where theft is occurring and safe parking locations is becoming increasingly important. Consider joining industry organizations that provide details on where and how thefts are occurring. In addition, educate your drivers to not discuss the load they are hauling or other route information at truck stops, etc. Additionally, drivers should remain in contact with dispatch if they are stopped somewhere with an increased likelihood of cargo theft.
Mitigate Fictitious Cargo Pickups: According to CargoNet, “Logistics brokers and shippers can help prevent fictitious cargo pickups by verifying any bids on shipments with the motor carrier through their contact information on file with the FMCSA and verifying the name of the motor carrier and driver matches who the shipment was tendered to. Motor carriers should be wary of new customers that offer payment through peer-to-peer money transfer apps if their business would haul a blind shipment delivering to an address different from the bill of lading, especially if the address is a public warehouse or cross-dock in California.”
Indications are cargo theft will remain elevated in 2023. Be proactive in protecting your equipment and cargo.
By Assignment Desk, Fox 5 NewsCONNECT
Springfield, Mo. -- (1/26/2018) Five Texas men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing 650 firearms from United Parcel Service trailers in Springfield en route to Bass Pro Shops.
By WMCActionNews5.com Staff
By Jerry Askin
OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC) -Sixty-seven guns were stolen outside a sporting goods store in Olive Branch.
The guns were in a trailer parked at Academy Sports on Goodman Road. The trailer's driver arrived at around 10 p.m. He was set to deliver the contents of the trailer to the store at 6 a.m. the next day. READ ARTICLE
TSA warns fleets, drivers that terrorists could target trucks for hijacking and ‘ramming attacks’
By James Jaillet
The Transportation Security Administration has issued an internal report warning of the potential for terrorists to use trucks as weapons to conduct attacks. TSA also released a list of countermeasures, mostly involving awareness of surroundings and reporting suspicious activity, that truck owners and operators should heed to help prevent such attacks from occurring. READ ARTICLE - CCJ
PREVENT TRUCK THEFT WITH ENFORCER® AIR CUFF® LOCK
VIDEO LINK- www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=759076
3 men accused of trying to steal box truck with $800,000 worth of cellphones inside
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Miami-Dade police's cargo theft squad and detectives from the Airport District arrested three men last week after they tried to steal a box truck that had $800,000 worth of cellphones inside, authorities said.
The suspects were identified Thursday as Daniel Ramirez-Castillo, 29, Yoel Brito, 42, and Luis Miguel Cordova, 39.
Police said undercover detectives watched the men for two weeks as they conspired to steal the truck.
Police said the men followed the truck for several days last week. They said the men tried to steal it Friday outside a business at 6640 NW 22nd Ave. after an undercover officer who was posing as a deliveryman entered the store.
The suspects used a copied key to gain access to the truck, authorities said.
The trio was arrested on charges of stalking, attempted grand theft of a vehicle and conspiracy to commit grant theft cargo, among other charges.
Police said they are seeking information about a 2007 Honda Odyssey with Miami Heat tag L3AJP whose driver fled the scene when the men were taken into custody.
Anyone with information about the vehicle is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
FreightWatch International recorded a total of 193 cargo thefts in 2016’s third quarter, according to its quarterly theft report issued last week. The cargo theft monitoring firm pegged the average loss value of cargo theft instances in the quarter at $120,536 each in the third quarter of the year.
Compared to the 2016’s second quarter, theft occurrences rose 14 percent, but average loss value fell 26 percent. Compared to 2015’s third quarter, cargo theft incidents were up 7 percent, while values rose 38 percent.
During the third quarter, FreightWatch recorded 77 cargo thefts in July, 66 in August and 50 in September.
Electronics and home and garden were the most-stolen items in the quarter, each accounting for 18 percent of cargo thefts during the period, according to FWI. Food and drinks accounted for 17 percent of stolen items. In electronics, televisions and displays accounted for 31 percent of the thefts. In home and garden loads, appliances were most stolen. Meats and produce each accounted for 18 percent on the food and drinks items stolen.
Home and garden items saw the most dramatic increase in thefts when compared year-over-year with a 94 percent increase from 2015’s third quarter. Electronics thefts rose by 46 percent year-over-year.
California ranked as the top state in FWI’s numbers with 38 percent of total thefts in the quarter, followed by Texas with 16 percent of the total. Of the 193 thefts in the quarter, 75 percent of them occurred in unsecured parking locations, FreightWatch says. Secured parking locations accounted for 13 percent of thefts, and warehouse and distribution centers represented 11 percent of the thefts.
Additionally, FWI says theft of full truckload was most prevalent with 78 percent of third quarter thefts.
By Bob Gatty Editor Convenience Distribution Convenience Distribution Magazine Online