Freight theft in the US hits record high

20 January 2012

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22 January 2012 | Adam Leach

The number of incidents of cargo theft in the US increased by 8.3 per cent in 2011 to hit an all time high, according to a report.

2011 US Cargo Theft Report, published 19 January by Freightwatch, reported that the number of incidents of theft hit the highest level since records began. However, despite the increase in the incident rate, the average value of goods stolen per theft dropped.

In incident terms, there were 974 thefts in 2011 compared with 899 in 2010, while the average value per incident dropped from $468,500 (£301,611) in 2010 down to $319,000 (£205,366), a year-on-year reduction of 31 per cent.

“While the rate of theft continues to rise, we are pleased to see the average value per incident begin to decline,” said Barry Conlon, CEO of FreightWatch. “This shows that shippers and the industry as a whole is beginning to secure high value cargo more effectively, forcing criminals to target less valuable loads.”

In terms of the types of thefts, the majority (87.5 per cent) of incidents were of full truckloads or full container thefts, followed by facility burglaries (3.4 per cent). There were also 38 thefts that were carried out as pickups by deception, where perpetrators used “ambiguity in the supply chain” to get victims to “literally hand over the cargo”.

The report also offered evidence that companies need to increase supply chain security at certain points in the year. October emerged as the month with the highest number of incidents, continuing a trend, while thieves also seized upon national holidays. During holiday periods, thefts per day rate increased from 2.67 to 4.3 (an increase of 61 per cent).


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