Cargo theft is a serious problem that has been increasing every year. In 2008, there were 16 cases of cargo theft in California. In 2010, 247 cases of cargo theft were reported there. That is an incredible surge of over 1,500 percent. California has more cargo theft than any state, but the growth across the nation is also severe.
Cargo Theft Targets
The most popular cargo for theft is electronic equipment, but food is rapidly gaining in popularity with thieves. That is because food can be sold all over the country, it cannot be tracked by serial numbers and it has a high resale value. Prescription drugs valued at $1.5 billion account for 13 percent of the cargo theft nationally. Construction supplies and clothing are also popular targets.
The easiest way to steal a truckload of shipped goods is to steal the entire truck. This usually happens within 200 miles of the point of origin or pickup. Most cargo theft occurs when the truck is not moving. Cargo at rest is in danger of theft. Organized crime is at the heart of cargo theft. Sometimes the theft is performed with the help of an insider at the trucking company who alerts the thieves when a valuable shipment is leaving the dock.
Usually, the theft occurs in areas where there are large numbers of trucks like truck stops, drop yards, parking lots and warehouses. Saturdays and Sundays account for the lion’s share of the thievery.
Tips that drivers can do to secure their load when they stop to eat or to rest.
- Lock the cargo with Glad Hand locks or kingpin locks.
- Never disclose the cargo to strangers.
- Never discuss the cargo on the CB radio.
- Never discuss the cargo while at a truck stop or roadside diner.
Tips that truckers can do to keep themselves and their cargo safe while on the road.
- Drivers should not stop within 200 miles of the load’s origination or pickup point.
- Drivers need to be especially careful on entrance and exit ramps.
- Drivers should take the cargo directly to its destination without stopping.
- Drivers should vary their routes if they make regular deliveries.
- Drivers should only stop at roadside rest stops where there are other truckers.
- Drivers need to watch for any vehicles that are following their truck. They should call the dispatcher if anything looks suspicious.