cargo-theft

What are the Risks and How to Avoid it

Cargo theft is the leading problem in the trucking industry, and it’s a problem that seems to stand the test of time since thieves are getting more and more imaginative in their attempts to circumvent all security measures and attempts to protect cargo.

No need to despair though, because we’re here to discuss what steps you can take to ensure the safety of your cargo, and to avoid the unpleasant aftermath of having to report your cargo missing.

Understanding the problem

In order to know how to prevent a problem, it’s essential to become familiar with it.

First of all, any time your truck is parked the cargo is at risk. This also absolutely applies to rest stops designated for truckers. On average, around 90% of cargo thefts occur while the truck is parked and unattended, which means that cargo theft is a crime of opportunity. As a side note, it’s good to remember that most thefts occur on the weekends, with the majority of thefts happening on Friday.

Second of all, you need to know what kind of cargo is targeted the most so that you can implement additional safety measures if you are transporting those kinds of goods. Pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and electronics are very valuable on the black market, so be especially careful when transporting those types of goods.

Lastly, you need to know in which areas of the U.S. most cargo thefts happen. California, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Tennessee are notorious for the percentage of cargo thefts, so be extra careful when traveling to those destinations. Another key notion here is the so-called Red Zone - this is the first 200 miles from the shipment’s origin, and drivers are discouraged (and sometimes even forbidden) from stopping and taking a break until they leave the infamous zone since the chances of their cargo being stolen are much higher there.

Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to look into some of the things you can do to prevent cargo theft.

Try not to leave your truck unattended for long periods of time

This is great advice, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks. It just means that you have to be smart about it. For example, when you park your truck try to back it up against a wall so that it can’t be opened, and make sure you park in well-lit areas. Remember, cargo theft is a crime of opportunity, so do your best not to give thieves the chance to steal anything.

Don’t overshare

You never know who might be sitting in the booth next to you at a rest stop restaurant, so be careful when talking about your cargo or destination. Thieves have been known to follow a truck they know is carrying valuable cargo and then strike when you least expect it. This also goes for sharing info on social media, and even during CB conversations, since they can use the info you share to target you more easily. It’s best if you keep your drop off locations to yourself, just in case.

Technology and high-quality locks are your best friends

GPS tracking is becoming more affordable, so it’s definitely worth investing in some tracking devices. They can be placed not only on the truck itself but on the goods as well, which can possibly save you a world of trouble if your truck or cargo do go missing since you might be able to recover some if not all the items you were transporting.

Another option is using geofencing which alerts you if your truck travels outside of its designated route. In combination with vehicle immobilization technology which enables you to remotely disable a stolen vehicle, it’s a real lifesaver.

Investing in tech like this can be pricey, so it never hurts to buy sturdy padlocks, numeric keypad locks, air brake valves, etc, which are an excellent hindrance to theft.

Screen drivers and provide proper training

This piece of advice is aimed at trucking companies more than drivers, but it’s still useful advice to share. Inside jobs aren’t exactly rare, so when hiring new employers make sure you do a thorough background and criminal records checks. Check their references and experiences of past employers; in the long run, it’s definitely worth investing some extra time in screening considering that it can save you a world of trouble.

In addition to this, it’s a good idea to have a procedure in place so that drivers know exactly what to do in the event of cargo theft. Make sure your drivers are aware of the hot spots for cargo theft, as well as the dangers of stopping in the Red Zone.

All in all, the key to avoiding cargo theft is being aware of risky places and situations. With the right training and equipment, the chances of having your cargo stolen are significantly lower.

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