Cargo theft is a billion dollar industry.
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America’s vast economy moves on the wheels of rigs, large and small. We all know that if you’ve got it; a truck or van brought it.

Unfortunately, thieves know that too and cargo theft remains a constant concern. Cargo theft costs our industry somewhere between $10 billion – $30 billion per year. Cargo theft is most prevalent in California, Florida and Texas. The most active areas for cargo theft are Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Bernardino County and Miami. The top items on the thieves shopping lists are (in order):

  • Food/drinks
  • Electronics
  • Clothing/shoes
  • Building/industrial materials
  • Home/garden
  • Auto parts
  • Pharmaceuticals

Any loss of these types of loads can represent hundreds of thousands of dollars in cargo claims to the carrier and insurance companies, loss of customer confidence and relations and lost future business opportunity.

When do loads and trucks get robbed?

Weekends are prime time for cargo theft, especially long holiday weekends when loads are parked. Loads are most likely to be stolen on Sunday, often times after the driver has sat at a location over the weekend. Typically, cargo which can be marketed quickly and easily is targeted.

How do we guard against cargo theft?

There are many ways to guard against cargo theft:

  • Hire the right people; good background checks including criminal history are a must.
  • Develop and implement a security plan for company facilities. Well-lit, fenced and locked facilities can be a deterrent to thieves.
  • Use king-pin locks and glad-hand locks for trailers that are not hooked.
  • Take special precautions with high value loads and consider using tracking devices.
  • Make plans for security in dispatch by moving from origin to destination with minimum stops; a load at rest is a load at risk!
  • Communicate with local law enforcement about your hours of operation and security measures.
  • Drivers should lock their truck at all times, even when driving.
  • Windows should always be rolled up.
  • Drivers should carry load information and unit information with them at all times.
  • Regular communication should be maintained with dispatch and any suspicious activity reported.
  • Don’t talk to anyone about your load, destination or other information on the CB, cell phone or at truck stops.
  • Deliver the load by the most direct route and minimize your stops until the load is delivered.

If you have to take a rest break, park at a reputable and secure truck stop or parking area.

Be aware of vehicles following you for unusual distances or anyone trying to stop you for an alleged traffic accident. Be especially cautious immediately after picking up a load and make certain the load is sealed and use a good quality padlock when en-route.

Thieves never take a holiday, don’t give them a chance to ruin your season.

The information contained in this report was obtained from sources which, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, are authentic and reliable. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. makes no guarantee of results and assumes no liability in connection with either the information herein contained, or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein, or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedures.