As of 2015, there had been 628 reports of cargo theft in the United States. This accounts for an astonishing $27.87 Million in stolen value. For this reason, many transportation business owners have an interest in preventing cargo theft to increase their revenues. The following list provides useful strategies which would reduce the amount of cargo theft companies face.
Know the Potential Targets
A key way to prevent cargo theft is understanding the thought process of the thief. Thieves will traditionally go after the most expensive or profitable cargo. The higher the value, the more the thief can resell these stolen goods for. This reasoning corresponds with the FBI’s 2015 findings of the different types of cargo that were stolen. The FBI saw that computer hardware and software were most frequently stolen. Then following that were portable electronic communications (smartphones & tablets) and foodstuffs. This list highlights that the more valuable the item is, the more likely that it is to be stolen. Using this knowledge, companies should increase the resources they use to protect their most valuable items. By protecting these items, companies will be securing the items that are the main targets of cargo thieves.
Know the Tactics of the Thief
The most popular means of cargo theft is simply grabbing unwatched trailers. As of 2015, 75% of in-transit theft was caused by stealing unwatched trailers. For this reason, it is crucial for transportation companies to monitor their trailers at all times. A lapse in attentiveness could result in someone stealing the trailer.
Another method that cargo thieves use is “fictitious pickups.” During a fictitious pickup, thieves will deceive companies into turning over their loads to them. One may ask, how foolish would you have to be to do something like that? However, cargo thieves can be quite deceptive and create scenarios that seem like a plausible reason to give away a load. For example, some cargo thieves, who were recently terminated from a company, will show up at a cargo pick-up location and pretend to be the person that was assigned to pick up the load. For a novice trucker, who would not be aware of these scams, the urge to give these thieves the load would be great. To reduce the prevalence of “fictitious pickups,” transportation companies need to make cargo theft knowledge training a priority.
Avoid Hot Spots When Possible
Cargo theft is the most prevalent in urban areas which see large amounts of freight traffic. This traffic tends to catch the eye of thieves who want to steal the valuable items. One reason that urban areas tend to be so dangerous is because of the existence of complex, cargo theft rings.
Working as a team, cargo thieves will coordinate their actions to steal freight. These rings tend to use cunning strategies to steal freight. For example, some rings will use “jammers” to disrupt defense systems such as cameras and alarms. To avoid crime rings, it is vital for transportation companies to limit their time in urban areas. When urban areas are unavoidable, it is important for transportation companies to increase security to ensure their freight is not stolen.
Many thieves would shrug from the opportunity to steal freight from a heavily secure location. For this reason, the 2016 statistic that 80% of cargo theft occurs in “unsecured parking,” is understandable. Thieves often strike at the places where they are less likely to be caught. For this reason, it is important for truckers to stay alert at any unsecured location.
A key resource for fighting against cargo theft is technology. The National Insurance Crime Bureau suggests tools such as vehicle and cargo tracking systems, tamper alarms, and advanced security seals. The cargo tracking system, for example, is useful because you can still know the freight’s location even if a thief steals the freight.
Having this information would allow authorities to quickly find the thieves and recover the freight. In addition, tamper alarms can be incredibly beneficial because they produce a loud siren and send a warning message to the company any time there is a freight breach. Tamper alarms would also increase the likelihood of recovering the stolen freight. By knowing when thieves are breaking into freight, companies will immediately know to begin the recovery process for their stolen freight. By using technology to protect freight, we can drastically reduce cargo theft.