Cargo theft continues to be a problem for the trucking industry. There is some good news though. The number of cargo theft incidents dropped slightly in 2012 compared to 2011 as reported by FreightWatch International. Despite this improvement, law enforcement officials state that reported cargo theft produces an annual loss of approximately $35 billion in the U.S.
The crime of cargo theft involves a wide array of strategies and scenarios. Electronics, food, apparel and metals are the most popular loads stolen, accounting for 54 percent of total thefts. Often times, it can be as simple as opportunity and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many instances of cargo theft, however, are orchestrated with more sophistication.
Regardless of how a criminal operates, driver execution is critical. Drivers must diligently maintain ownership of the tractor and trailer by following standard procedure every time. This isn’t just for the safety of the cargo but for the driver as well.
Where a driver parks and how he or she behaves plays a large role in that. Drivers should use their surroundings to their advantage by backing trailers up against fences or buildings to prevent anyone from gaining access. Parking in well-lit, heavier traffic areas near buildings and fuel islands is a safer choice as well. Long-term parking at rest stops or highway shoulders should not be an option nor should taking a load home or leaving it unattended for the weekend.
While no fleet is immune to cargo theft, being a vigilant driver in all practices can make the difference.