FreightWatch: Cargo theft incidents down, average loss values up for Q1-2014

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 5/5/2014

The number of cargo theft incidents in the United States fell roughly 5 percent, but the average loss value per incident rose 38.5 percent compared to the same time last year, 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 January and March of this year. The report is compiled from U.S. theft data derived from law enforcement and industry databases.

In the first quarter of 2014 FreightWatch recorded a total of 206 full-truckload cargo theft incidents, with 82 thefts in January, 46 in February and 78 in March, according to a report issued May 1. The average loss value per incident during the quarter was $207,982.

Compared with the first three months of 2013, the results represent a 4.9 percent decrease in volume, and a 38.5 percent increase in loss value, which the company claims points to “the continued persistence and increasing sophistication of organized cargo criminals,” the report stated.

FreightWatch also noted in the report that the total number of thefts in this quarter for 2014 are expected to surpass 2013, because “delays in incident reporting typically cause measurable increases in theft volumes in the weeks following publication of FreightWatch quarterly reports.

Food and drinks were once again the most commonly stolen type of load, with 44 thefts (21 percent of all incidents). Home/Garden products accounted for 31 thefts (15 percent), followed by electronics with 27 thefts (13 percent).

While the average loss value across all incidents increased significantly, the average losses in specific product types varied widely, according to the report. In this quarter, the Clothing/Shoes category had the highest average loss value, at $943,699, due to several name-brand footwear thefts valued at more than $1 million. Electronics logged the second-highest average loss value at $421,008, fueled by losses of high-end projectors and computers, the report stated.

California remains the top spot for cargo theft incidents with 56 thefts reported so far this year, or 27 percent of the total. Florida’s 42 thefts put the state in second place with 20 percent of all incidents. Georgia (23 thefts), Texas (22 thefts) and Illinois (15 thefts) rounded out the top five states with the most incidents. Unsecured parking (122 thefts), primarily at truck stops, was the location most often targeted by cargo thieves when a location was recorded, the report stated.

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