FreightWatch reports cargo theft incidents down, stolen load values way up

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Monday, December 23, 2013

The number of cargo theft incidents is down 8 percent but the average loss value is up nearly 50 percent compared with the previous quarter, according to the latest report from FreightWatch International.

FreightWatch, which specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe, publishes its quarterly reports on a rolling basis. The latest report covers cargo thefts reported between September and November of this year. The report is compiled from U.S. theft data derived from law enforcement and industry databases.

In this quarter, FreightWatch recorded a total of 222 thefts in the United States, with 85 thefts in September, 67 in October, and 70 in November. The average loss value per incident during the period was $244,604. The September data overlaps both quarters.

Food and drinks were once again the most commonly stolen type of load, with 55 thefts reported in the quarter. These thefts composed 25 percent of all incidents from September to November. The electronics industry experienced 37 thefts, 17 percent of the total, mainly consisting of televisions, computers and computer accessories. The Home and Garden category saw 21 thefts, or 9 percent of the total, largely targeting appliances, decorations and miscellaneous home products, according to the report.

OOIDA Director of Security Operations Doug Morris said the average value thefts were inflated by holiday shipping.

“During November and December the value of loads going to retail stores escalates tremendously with the increase of electronics and high valued goods that most retailers don’t overstock during other times of the year,” he said.

Electronics also had the highest average loss value for the quarter, at $958,551 per load. Those numbers were inflated by a combination of factors, including three separate high-value incidents, such as the theft of roughly $12 million in LG smartphones from a truck stop in Gary, Ind., in October. Authorities arrested and charged 40-year-old Juan Perez-Gonzalez in connection with the heist.

California remained the state with the most thefts with 81 reported incidents, accounting for 36 percent of all incidents in the quarter. Florida and Texas tied for the second spot with 30 thefts each, while Illinois had 16 thefts and Georgia had fewer than 10.

Morris said he believes not all theft incidents are reported, meaning the actual number of incidents could be higher. When it comes to safety, he said drivers should always attempt to park in areas they know, avoid telling people what they are hauling, and never leave the truck and trailer unattended for long periods of time.

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