Cargo theft is on the rise, particularly with the increase in online shopping. But what is it and how can you combat it?
In the Italian Job (the 2003 movie that actually has a plot line, not the 1969 version that is a waste of time), Charlie and his crew steal around $30 million in gold from a former crew member after dropping an armored truck through the street and into an abandoned subway tunnel. While they used some extravagant measures including hacking into the traffic lights, souping up some sweet mini coopers, and the whole blowing up a street to capture an entire armored truck, the climatic heist is actually just an illustration of cargo theft.
The FBI defines cargo theft as:
The criminal taking of any cargo including, but not limited to, goods, chattels, money, or baggage that constitutes, in whole or in part, a commercial shipment of freight moving in commerce, from any pipeline system, railroad car, motor truck, or other vehicle, or from any tank or storage facility, station house, platform, or depot, or from any vessel or wharf, or from any aircraft, air terminal, airport, aircraft terminal or air navigation facility, or from any intermodal container, intermodal chassis, trailer, container, freight station, warehouse, freight distribution facility, or freight consolidation facility.
Cargo theft is typically committed by organized retail crime (ORC) gangs. While they aren’t driving enhanced mini coopers through the subway, they are extremely clever and daring. Some thefts are subtle and only remove small quantities that go unnoticed, while others involve hijackings and the theft of entire truckloads. Last year, 870 cargo thefts were recorded in the United States with an average value of $166,854 lost. That’s a total of more than $145 million lost to cargo theft.
Cargo theft can happen anywhere along the shipping process. Here are some of the most common methods:
Cargo theft happens when the merchandise is at rest, normally at stops along the way to distribution centers, warehouses, or retail locations. Because of that, certain security measures can be taken to help prevent it and deter criminals.
Cargo theft is hard to combat because thieves are creative and find loopholes or ways to circumvent most security measures. However, there are some simple precautions that can help. The first step is to be careful who you hire and run background checks. Next, add a seal or lock to the trailers. While this simple deterrent can be cut or broken, it will remove some easy opportunities for criminals.
Another way is to train drivers where and how to park their rigs. Watch which areas are crime hot spots and have the drivers avoid them. Also instruct drivers to park in populated areas at rest stops. Having multiple eyes on the rig will help protect the cargo.
Loaded shipping trailers or containers are targets even when they are parked at a warehouse, distribution center, or trucking yard. Often the trailers have less security than the actual warehouse, making it easier for thieves to break in.
Mobile surveillance cameras from LiveView Technologies (LVT) can quickly add security to any shipping facility. Our mobile units can be set up in 30 minutes or less and are easy to configure. Furthermore, they are completely self-sufficient and do not require wired connections to power or Wi-Fi.
Each unit can be equipped with multiple deterrents, including different types of cameras, lights, and audio. For example, a unit can have thermal cameras so thieves won’t be able to hide behind obstacles in your yard. Features like bounding boxes and instant alerts help you know the instant someone unwelcome enters your property.
We can help protect your warehouse and trucks from damage and theft this holiday season. Watch this video to learn more about our product and contact us to request a free demo.
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