Where Does Most Cargo Theft Happen?

Compared to 2016, cargo theft dropped by 32% in the second quarter of 2017, according to Keith Lewis, Vice President of Operations at CargoNet. Speaking to freight brokers at the DAT User Conference in Portland, OR, Lewis said that increased awareness of the problem has helped to combat theft, and due diligence by brokers plays a role.

Lewis shared these and other facts compiled by CargoNet, a national data-sharing system that seeks to prevent cargo theft and improve recovery rates. CargoNet is managed by crime analysts and subject-matter experts including Lewis. He has 20 years of experience in transportation logistics, and is also a former law-enforcement officer and detective.

According to CargoNet, Los Angeles is the perennial number-1 location for cargo theft, while food and beverage items are the most commonly stolen commodities.

One striking stat: Georgia has seen a 64% reduction in cargo theft in the past year, dropping to the 5th on the list of states with the most instances of cargo theft.

Criminals frequently arrange a fictitious pickup, where a load is double-brokered or an impostor poses as a carrier to pick up the load. Another tactic is to hold the load hostage.

What can brokers do when confronted with cargo theft?

Before you call the police, look up the specific code section that applies to the crime in that state. Speak the language that police understand — describe the crime in a way that matches that code, since many law enforcement officials aren’t familiar with this industry.

As a preventive measure, Lewis recommends hiding a small GPS tracking device in the load itself, especially if you’re moving high-value freight. Shippers and freight brokers often work together to position and monitor the tracking devices, Lewis said.

Best practices in case of a hostage load

  • Make a controlled call to carrier asking for the load to be delivered or return
  • Record the carrier refusing to release the load
  • Ask for photograph of load for “proof of possession”
  • Use CargoNet Alert Search or contact CargoNet about how you might be able to pinpoint the location of the load
  • Be nice – you might be able to negotiate a resolution

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