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3 Trends in Cargo Theft to Watch

HNI Associate Vice President and Transportation Practice Leader

In January 2013, FreightWatch International published their 2012 US Cargo Theft Report.  Included in that report are three trends worth watching in the area of cargo theft.

1. Deceptive pickup theft continues to rise. 

Deceptive pickups involve the criminals stealing the identity of a motor carrier in order to pickup and steal loads of freight.  A broker may believe they are working with a legitimate motor carrier when dispatching the load, and a fraudulent carrier shows up.  Often the carrier who had their identity stolen is unaware until they receive a phone call asking when they are going to deliver. 

What You Can Do

Motor carriers should continue monitoring CSA scores and violations while keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.  If drivers and equipment violations that are not yours keep showing up, you may have a problem.  Brokers should be constantly scrutinizing motor carriers’ credentials, licensing, insurance, and CSA scores.  Services such as Carrier411.com can help to make this a more manageable task.   

2. Meat products theft is on the rise

The theft of meat and meat products continue to rise.  The increase in meat theft is correlated directly to the price of feed (especially corn).  With much of the country in a long sustained drought period, feed prices have been constantly rising, thus increasing the retail price of meat.

What You Can Do

Motor carriers should educate drivers as to the possibility of their load of meat being a desirable theft target.  Obviously, trailer locks and heavy duty bolt seals help deter the truck stop thief from stumbling upon a valuable load.  Trailer-tracking devices can also serve to give an early heads up to a theft and help law enforcement track the criminals.

3. Michigan is a hot spot for cargo theft

Michigan’s rank in the top cargo theft states jumped dramatically.  Michigan is typically ranked in the middle of the states but last year jumped up to #8.  The Detroit area is a particular hot bed of cargo theft activity.  The theft problem in Michigan unfortunately has seen violence or threats of violence employed 23% of the time vs. 2% nationwide.

What You Can Do

Educate your drivers to be especially vigilant in Michigan and Detroit in particular.  When delivering into the Detroit area, you may not want your drivers to lay over unless absolutely necessary.  A safe rest stop or truck stop outside the metro area may be worth losing a few hours of service in the drivers log book.

Education, training, technology, and common sense all can play a part in helping reduce cargo theft in the United States.  

Topics: Transportation