Trucking industry, law enforcement work together to fight cargo crime

BURFORD, Ont. — Law enforcement officials came together with trucking industry representatives today, to create a plan on how to reduce or eliminate cargo crime.

It’s a growing problem facing the Canadian trucking industry, with some estimates suggesting it costs $5 billion per year, or $500,000 each day in the Greater Toronto Area alone.

Today’s meeting, hosted by Jeff Bryan Transport, included participation from law enforcement officials, the Ontario Trucking Association and Verisk Crime Analytics Canada. The initiative has been dubbed Project Momentum, and today’s meeting was just the first phase.

Participants discussed how the theft of mobile equipment and goods in transit, storage and in retail locations is a major economic burden on the Canadian economy, provides funding for organized criminal networks and has been linked to smuggling and national security threats.

“Because of the lack of national attention this issue receives, cargo crime is unfortunately seen by criminals as low-risk with huge profits,” says Jennifer Fox, vice-president, trade and security, with the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “The impact to Canadians, however, is quite significant and the ripple effects are far reaching. Additionally, while these types of crimes are rarely mentioned on the evening news or the front page, you can be sure the proceeds from cargo crime support some of the higher-profile criminal acts people do hear about often. It’s time to stop treating cargo thefts as a victimless crime.”

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has been identified as a “hot spot” for criminals engaged in cargo crime with a vast pipeline that stretches across  the Windsor-Montreal Hwy 401 trade corridor. Police say that recent incidents indicate an increasing amount of cargo theft in Southwestern Ontario.

“Carriers are leading the charge. Being an active carrier doesn’t indicate that you have a problem, but that you are part of the solution,” said Jeff Bryan, OTA chair. “I invite all stakeholders in the supply chain to come to the table to help us incite legislative changes.”

David Shillingford, president of Verisk Crime Analytics, said Project Momentum promotes a heightened awareness of the risk of cargo crime, as well as collaboration amongst the stakeholders impacted by cargo and equipment thefts. “Increased enforcement, crime suppression initiatives, and community engagement are among the measures we are sharing to help prevent theft and facilitate stolen cargo and equipment recovery.”

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