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How to Prevent Cargo Theft During July 4th Holiday

July 2, 2018
A study found food and beverages, major appliances, and electronics were the most targeted products for theft and this year they predict metal shipments are a prime target due to increased metal prices.

As most Americans enjoy grilling with family and an extra day off this July 4th holiday, cargo thieves will be seeking to get rich by stealing truckloads of food and beverages, major appliances, and electronics.

CargoNet analyzed cargo theft data in the United States and Canada from July 1 to July 7 for the past five years and noted that those were some of the most popular theft categories. We also expect cargo thieves to target metal shipments. Metal commodity prices have risen over the past few years, and cargo thieves have taken note. CargoNet has noted a major uptick in cargo theft of metals in 2018.

In the aforementioned time period, 108 cargo theft events in the United States and Canada were reported. Reports were most common in California, Texas, and Georgia, respectively. However, there were 26 states or provinces in total that experienced some cargo theft in this reporting period. Cargo was most commonly stolen on Friday, with 24 reported thefts, and Tuesday, with 19 reported thefts. CargoNet estimates $14.93 million in losses during this reporting period, and the average loss value per incident equaled $230,339.

Truckers can protect their trucks and freight by avoiding high-theft metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Dallas–Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Miami and by parking in high-security locations with security services, secure fences, and high-visibility lighting.

Noteworthy thefts from previous July 4th holidays

$2,000,000 of cell phones from Miami, Florida 
$1,300,000 of apparel and accessories from Newport, Tennessee 
$659,090 in cash and other valuable items from San Angelo, Texas 
$500,000 in electronics from Carnesville, Georgia 
$495,210 in televisions and other displays from Medley, Florida

Supply Chain Fraud Security Tips

Cargo thieves enjoy the holidays because shipping volume of desirable goods increases, as does demand. Freight brokers should be extra diligent during the holiday season as fictitious pickups increase. End of day transactions should have strict vetting processes; a second look by a supervisor prior to tendering a load to a carrier may prevent a theft. A trucker that is willing to take an undesirable load for a lower rate than the industry standard may be setting you up for a theft. Fuel advance, hostage load, and line haul scams also increase a few days before a holiday. Prior to issuing the fuel advance, confirm with the shipper that the load was picked up by calling them. Do not accept incoming calls from a shipper trying to tell you the driver is there – it could be the scammers spoofing the phone number of the shipper.

 In Transit Cargo Security Tips

Make sure that both security managers and drivers have accurate license plate, VIN, and descriptive information for tractors, trailers, containers, and container chassis. Police agencies will need this information to open an investigation in the event of an incident. Drivers should keep this information on them so they quickly reference it if their truck is stolen. Secure all trailers (loaded and unloaded) with high-security ISO 17712 compliant barrier seals in combination with hardened padlocks. Utilize king pin locks for unattached trailers. Secure all tractors with high-security locking devices, such as, air-cuff and steering column locks. Remind the drivers to arrive at point of pick up; well rested, showered, fed and with a full tank of fuel. Avoid having loaded trailers sit unattended when employees are not present

 Warehouse / Distribution Center Security Tips

 Check to make sure the entire facility is in good working order. This should include lighting, back-up generators, alarm system(s), surveillance equipment, perimeter fencing and any other type of barrier. Remove keys from all facility equipment and place them in a secure location, especially motorized pallet jacks and forklifts. Never treat any alarm signal as a “false alarm”. When targeting warehouse locations, cargo thieves tend to trip facility alarm systems multiple times before breaking-in to give law enforcement and facility managers the impression that the alarm system is broken. Encourage documentation and reporting of all suspicious activity that occurs in and around a facility to security personnel and the CargoNet Operations Center. This information can be critical to law enforcement in the event of a cargo theft incident. Ask local police agencies to make routine checks of facilities during holiday down time.

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