Cargo trucks move billions of dollars of freight all across the United States each year, with each individual truck typically carrying tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods. This makes cargo trucks perfect targets for thieves looking to make some quick money. The most targeted goods are ones that are easy to sell without being traced; food and beverage are the top targets, followed by health and beauty items, apparel, household appliances, construction materials, and electronics.
Cargo theft costs the trucking industry and cargo liability insurance carriers a lot of money each year. According to a 2018 U.S. and Canada cargo theft analysis, 157 cargo thefts were reported just in the second quarter of that year, with an average cargo value per theft event of $186,779. The total losses for that period amounted to $29.3 million.
Cargo thieves tend to be opportunists, with the majority of cargo theft in North America occurring when a truck or trailer is left unattended for any period of time. Truck stops and highway rest areas are the most targeted locations, followed by modal yards and other unsecured locations such as drop lots and parking lots. In rarer cases, warehouse burglaries or hijackings may occur, but these account for only 6% and 3% of cargo theft cases, respectively.
In addition to securely locking and alarming cargo trailers, understanding where and why cargo thieves target certain areas over others is another way trucking companies can protect their trucks from incidents of theft. Below are other ways of reducing cargo theft from trucks and trucking operations.
Utilize Security Technology
Sensors and GPS tracking devices can be monitored to make sure a truck isn’t off route or stopped for too long. The cargo itself can be tagged with tracking devices. Trucks can be outfitted with technology that allows them to be locked and unlocked remotely and even immobilized while on the move.
Employee and Contractor Screenings
Some cargo security experts believe that a large percentage of cargo thefts involve some level of inside information or employee complicity. Running thorough background checks on prospective employees and carefully selecting contractors and transportation partners can help reduce the chances of an inside job occurring.
Provide Security Training for Employees
Educate employees and drivers in cargo theft awareness and prevention including proper ways to secure cargo, where and where not to park when they need to make a stop and how to keep an eye out for potential thieves following them on their route.
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