January 26, 2023
Cargo theft is a major problem in the United States.
According to the Sensitech Supply Chain Intelligence Center, or SCIC, there were 214 thefts of cargo that happened during the second quarter of 2022, with the average loss valued at $371,369. Year-over-year, that represented an 8% increase in total theft volume and a 7% increase in average value.
Electronics led the way in terms of the type of product targeted most frequently, as it represented 22% of all cargo thefts in that time period. That was followed by home and garden (18%), building and industrial (12%), miscellaneous (12%) food and drinks (11%), and auto and parts (11%).
Trucking companies need to take cargo theft seriously, since the responsibility to protect the cargo falls on them once it loaded onto their vehicles. This means trucking companies may have to make their clients whole if cargo is stolen.
Below are some of the best ways to prevent cargo theft.

Park in Locations That Are Secure

The best way to prevent cargo theft is to not stop. When cargo is moving in your truck, it's very hard for a thief to steal it, lest they pull off a major heist.
Of course, it's simply not realistic to never stop while you're delivering cargo. The important thing, then, is to leave your cargo unattended as little as possible. And when you do have to leave the cargo unattended, make sure that you do so in secure locations.
When you park your vehicle, make sure it's in a well-lit area. Light is one of the biggest theft deterrents. Thieves are much more likely to pounce when they can hide in darkness.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

Cargo thieves will sometimes target trucks while on the road, following them until they stop and then taking advantage while the driver leaves the truck to use the restroom, get something to eat, shower or rest for the night.
One thing you can do to help prevent cargo theft is to pay attention to your surroundings. Be aware of vehicles that you believe could be following you. If you are concerned about one, call dispatch to report your concern.
In addition, don't share your location or your planned trip online. While it may be fun to share your travels with family and friends on social media platforms, this can be a way for thieves to target you.

Ensure Cargo is Locked Properly

When you do have to leave your cargo unattended, it's very important that its locked away properly. Today, there are many locks that utilize technology for extra security.
At the very least, you should be using landing gear locks and king ping locks, in addition to the high-security locks placed on the doors to the cargo on your vehicle. You also should put air cuff locks on the trailer itself when it's married to the tractor.
This will make it more difficult for thieves to access the cargo on your truck if they attempt to do so.

Know Cargo Theft 'Hot Spots'

Another key way to prevent cargo theft is to know in advance if you're going to be traveling to any theft "hot spots." There are six states in America where a majority of cargo theft occurs -- Georgia, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and California.
If you're going to be traveling to or through these states, you should be on high alert for the added possibility of cargo theft. It's important to pay extra attention to security efforts when you're in one of these "hot spots."
In addition, there are "hot times" when cargo theft occurs. Thefts spike a lot during holiday seasons, especially the end-of-year holiday shopping season. During the rest of the year, thefts are more common on weekends.
So, again, you should be on extra high alert during these times when cargo thefts most often occur.

Monitor Your Employees

If you run a trucking company, it's also important to keep an eye on the truck drivers you employ. That's because some cargo theft occurs due to an inside job -- or, in other words, with the actual assistance of the truck driver.
You can help to prevent this type of theft in few ways. First, install surveillance systems that are overt in some high-sensitive areas. This could help you identify suspicious behavior that could be an indication that an employee is about to participate in cargo theft.
It's also important to conduct regular and unannounced audits. This will help you keep a close eye on all the cargo you are picking up and dropping off, and whether your drivers are following all security protocols properly.
Finally, pay attention to other potential suspicious behavior. Encourage your employees to drop anonymous tips to you about their co-workers who may be exhibiting this type of behavior, as it could help prevent cargo theft before it ever happens.

Utilize Modern Technology

Trucking companies can also use modern technology to help alert them of the possibility that cargo theft may be occurring -- or that something is amiss.
GPS trackers can be placed onto all vehicles, allowing you to track the vehicle's exact location at all times. If a vehicle has been stolen, you can report these details to law enforcement.
In addition, you can use a geofencing application that will send an alarm any time a vehicle veers outside its predefined route. This could alert you to the potential that a theft may be occurring or about to occur. In this case, you could contact the driver to find out what is happening.
Today, companies have even created technology that will allow you to remotely disable any vehicle that you believe is stolen. This would immobilize the vehicle completely, and allow you to alert law enforcement agencies of its exact location.
By utilizing all the tools at your disposal, you'll be better equipped to prevent cargo theft.
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