U.S. Traffic Delays, Increased Cargo Theft Chances This Week

ORLANDO, FL; AUSTIN, TX and, JERSEY CITY, NJ — Trucking fleets and drivers that are going to be operating in the U.S. this week face more than their usual challenges with expectations of greatly increased traffic and a higher risk of cargo thefts.

AAA Travel forecasts 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, defined as Wednesday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Nov 29 and a bulk will be out on the roadways.

Nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving, an increase of 0.7 percent over last year. The rest will be on planes, trains and other transportation modes.

Much of the reason for the increase, according to the group, is travelers will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gasoline prices since 2008.

Meantime, two groups involved in trucking crime prevention and stolen goods recovery have issued special advisories for the U.S. this week.

According to FreightWatch International, holiday weekends are notorious for presenting increased cargo theft risks for transportation companies, shippers, and manufacturers. 

Since 2010, the transportation industry has experienced over three thefts per day during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 27% over the annual average of 2.4 thefts per non-holiday day throughout those years. 

“During this elevated threat period, electronics and clothing and shoes increase as targets for thieves, and home and garden products supplant good and drinks as the most stolen product type,” says FreightWatch. “Organized theft rings are always active and recognize holiday weekends can cause shipments to be unattended for prolonged periods of time. There were 12 reported cargo theft incidents during the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend totaling over US$930,000 in reported losses, including two fictitious pickups in California.”

According to CargoNet, During the week of Thanksgiving in 2012, 2013, and 2014, thieves stole nearly US$6 million in cargo, 44 semi tractors and 51 semi trailers across 103 reported incidents. Criminals were especially busy in Texas, which recorded double the amount of theft incidents compared with the next hardest-hit state, California.

“Sixty percent of reported incidents occurred in the top three targeted locations,” says CargoNet. “Parking lots and warehouses were tied, with 22 incidents each, while truck stops were slightly behind, with 18 incidents. All of the recorded truck stop thefts were in the eastern half of the country.”

CargoNet data shows thefts gradually increased from Monday, spiked on Wednesday, and gradually decreased afterward to average levels of theft.

“This does not necessarily mean that Wednesday was the worst day for theft incidents. In 39 percent of incidents, the victim did not know on what day the vehicle and/or cargo were stolen because it was left unattended and unchecked for several days,” CargoNet says.

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