Cargo theft is a common problem of the trucking industry in the United States. During the third quarter of 2016, the total cargo theft incidents went up significantly. In July, August, and September there were 193 cargo thefts. The average loss of value was equal to $120,536.
According to FreightWatch International, in the third quarter of 2016, California got the first place in the cargo theft ranking. It accounts for 38 % of all incidents. Texas got the second place with 16 % of the thefts. About 75 percent of all thefts took place at the unsecured parking locations. 13 % of the thefts occurred at the secured parking lots and 11 percent at the warehouses/distributions centers.
It’s impossible to completely protect yourself from cargo theft. However, by following a few simple rules, you can significantly reduce the chances of being robbed.
- Find Secure Parking Spaces
As you can see from the statistics, most of the thefts occur in the unsecured parking lots. Since there is a certain shortage of secure truck parking in the country, finding a good location can be complicated. You can opt for trying to find a well-lit area that’s not isolated. Look for parking lots or spaces where you can back you truck against a fence or a wall to prevent easy access to the cargo. You can also park you truck tail to tail with another cargo vehicle.
- Keep Your Mouth Shut
This might seem rude but it’s one of the best ways to protect your cargo, especially when it’s valuable. Chatting with the guys at truck stops and discussing cargo details over the phone in a crowded area is the best way to give thieves a good idea of what you are transporting. Another simple way to reveal information is to create detailed social media posts. They are often easy to track.
- Lock Up
While this is an obvious advice, for some reason, many truckers believe that if they leave for “just a minute”, nothing bad will happen. Experienced thieves can leave you without your cargo in a matter of seconds. So even if you are going out for a quick bathroom break, make sure all your windows are rolled up and the doors are locked.
- Listen to Your Gut
When you are carrying expensive cargo, being paranoid is a good quality. If you feel as if someone is paying too much attention to your truck or following you for a long time, don’t hesitate to call for help. At least let the dispatcher know that there might be a problem, so you can avoid the responsibility in case such circumstances lead to theft.
- Know the Hot Spots
Most of the thefts happen during the first stop after loading. So you must be extra careful about your cargo when you first stop for refueling, resting, restroom breaks, etc. Plan your trip to make the first stop at least 200 miles away from the shipper’s location. Not many thieves are ready to follow your truck this long. Also be extra careful when traveling in California, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and Texas. These states are the kings of cargo theft.