“Smokies? Meet bandits”

TORONTO — Who gets the stiffer sentence: Criminal A, caught with a few grand worth of cocaine? Or Criminal B, apprehended with $1 million worth of plasma TVs?

The answer is “A”, particularly if the TVs were stolen on a truck.

Fact is, this country simply doesn’t take cargo crime seriously.

That’s the gist of just-released study on the extent of the problem in Canada. The study, conducted by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) indicates that about $5 billion is lost every year in Canada due to cargo crime.

What’s more, the CTA says, the police, governments, truckers and everybody else ought to take action because cargo theft is anything but a victimless crime.

According to a statement from the CTA, “cargo that is stolen and sold in illegal markets shifts revenues from legitimate businesses to criminals and depletes tax revenues.

"What is more disturbing is the recent increased use of violence in perpetrating cargo crime, putting the well-being of truck drivers and other industry employees at risk.”

This study, which CTA President and CEO David Bradley says is the first of its kind in Canada and "perhaps so far as we know anywhere in the world" — is the "initial step in developing a coordinated and effective action plan to address the growing problem of cargo crime in Canada."

The study winds up with some very specific suggestions:

• Government should redefine “theft” to include “cargo theft;” ensure that penalties associated with cargo crimes reflect the extent and impact of the problem; and, ensure cargo theft becomes a priority for increased police resources and legislative change.??

• Stakeholders affected by cargo crime should exchange information, discuss issues and work together to develop effective crime prevention strategies and standardized protocols.

• Insurance companies must investigate the expanded utilization of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s program for non-attributable information sharing across the trucking community, from which police can distil regional and national trends.?

• Law-enforcement agencies should enhance the education and training of enforcement officers on cargo crime.?

• Trucking companies need to do more to protect themselves. This could involve such procedures as as personnel security screening; route risk assessments; corporate security management; and greater participation in the movement against cargo crime in Canada as well as the U.S.A.

The study was released this week at the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police National Pipeline/Convoy Conference in Toronto.

For more information, please contact publicaffairs@cantruck.ca  

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