‘Tis the Season for Cargo Thefts, How You Can Prevent Them

AUSTIN, TX and JERSEY CITY, NJ  — Don’t let stolen freight ruin your holiday.

This year, both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day occur on a Friday, creating two separate three-day weekends, leaving more opportunity for shipments to be left unattended or parked in unsecured locations for extended periods of time.

The cargo theft prevention and recovery services provider CargoNet analyzed theft data from Dec. 23 -Jan. 2 for 2012 through 2015 and noted 112 incidents reported in the United States and Canada during that period.

Texas and Georgia recorded the most activity, with 20 incidents each. Arkansas made a rare appearance on the list due to a rash of trailer break-ins in during 2014 and early 2015. The top five states accounted for 63 percent of cargo theft during that period.

During the holidays, thieves targeted truck stops with 20 thefts, warehouses had 17 thefts, and parking lots saw 15 thefts. Those three locations accounted for just under half of all reported thefts in the reporting period.

The average loss was valued at US$170,487. CargoNet recorded a loss value just above US$5 million for all thefts in that period.

Thieves stole 58 trailers and 47 semi tractors. Food and beverages were by far the most commonly stolen commodity, with 23 incidents as thieves especially targeted meat shipments. Apparel and accessories thefts, electronics – mostly televisions – and other commodities, such as tobacco and firearms, tied for second, with eight incidents each. But losses in those categories were a fraction of the food and beverage thefts.

According to the logistics security services provider FreightWatch International (FWI), in addition to the usual spike in theft of full truckload and pilferage during the holidays, it is not uncommon to see a spike in facility theft as well. Facilities dense with merchandise waiting for empty shelves that will follow hectic holiday sales, provide rich targets for cargo thieves, as they tend to have fewer personnel over the extended holiday period.

It recommends logistics and security professionals confirm holiday hours of operation with shipping partners to mitigate any unforeseen shipping delays.

“FWI also advises the review of security protocols to ensure policies are up to date and in line with industry best practices for both in-transit and warehouse operations; both will be heavily targeted over this holiday period,” the company said in an advisory. “Covert GPS tracking with an active monitoring program is vital to mitigate threats, and is an invaluable asset to the recovery process in the event of a theft.”


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