Essentials targeted in US cargo thefts as recession bites

16 April 2009

17 April 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie

Cargo thieves are stealing food, medicine and other practical items most in the downturn, a report has found.

US supply chain protection company LoJack issued its first cargo theft study last week, based on 2008 data from 600 member organisations of its Supply Chain Information and Analysis Centre.

Of the almost 300 reported thefts of road-freighted goods, food was the type of load stolen most often, in 13 per cent of reported incidents. Pharmaceutical or medical products and building supplies were also high on the list of stolen consignments, each involved in 12 per cent of cases.

"Food and drugs are always a target of thieves, but especially so in a depressed economy," said LoJack SCI's chief executive officer Robert Furtado. "That may explain why those items topped the list, while 'nice-to-have' goods such as music, movies and software came in at only 1 per cent."

Details of how much the stolen goods were worth were not available but Furtardo said the problem was "very profitable" for thieves and costly for companies.

In its recommendations to businesses LoJack suggested organisations conducted driver screening to reduce the incidence of "inside jobs".

The thefts happened most often at truck stops or in parking lots. More than half happened on a Saturday or Sunday. Weekdays with the highest number of hits were Mondays and Thursdays.

The report said organisations should protect themselves by being aware of latest trends in crime. It added that companies should have a strategic plan to safeguard cargo throughout supply chains that include measures to evaluate and regularly audit transportation partners.


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