FreightWatch: Cargo theft incidents down, loss values up for 2Q 2016

By Land Line staff | Monday, August 08, 2016

Reported incidents of cargo theft were down, but the average loss value of stolen merchandise spiked significantly compared to the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest report from FreightWatch International. Both the number of incidents and average loss values have declined by double-digits compared to the same quarter in 2015.

From April to June, the company recorded 166 incidents of cargo theft in the U.S., down from 221 for the previous quarter, with an average loss value per incident $154,184, up from $112,467 in the previous quarter, according to a report issued Friday. Those numbers represent a 26 percent decrease in volume and 35 percent increase in value compared to the first quarter of 2016. The numbers also represent an 11 percent dip in thefts and a 16 percent decline in loss values compared to April-June 2015.

FreightWatch, which specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe, publishes quarterly reports in addition to an annual report on cargo theft. The report notes that delays in incident reporting typically cause measurable increases in theft volumes in the weeks following the quarterly reports, and that totals from the most recent quarter are expected to rise. FreightWatch’s practice is to use updated theft numbers from past quarters when comparing them to current three-month totals.

Food and Beverages dominated in terms of theft by product, accounting for more than one in every five loads reported stolen. Electronics made up 13 percent of all reported thefts, and Home and Garden loads represented 11 percent.

California remains the top state for cargo theft, with 40 percent of all reported thefts occurring in the Golden State. The rate represents a 91 percent increase compared to Q1 2016, and a 122 percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2015. Texas came in second with 19 percent of total reported thefts, followed by New Jersey (8 percent), Florida (7 percent) and Georgia (6 percent).

Theft of full truckload remains the most prevalent method of cargo theft, accounting for 78 percent of all reported thefts. The report states that the most prevalent location for cargo thefts continues to be unsecured parking, identified in 82 percent of all incidents in which a location was declared.

Each report also spotlights a key segment or trend in cargo theft. In the latest report, FreightWatch focuses on electronics theft, using data compiled from a 24-month period spanning from 2014 to 2016. The report states that seasonality “seems to have no bearing on the ebb and flow” of electronics thefts.

“Instead, major commercial hardware releases and opportunity drive these thefts,” the report stated.

The report notes that while theft of full truckload remains the most common type of theft in the electronics category, it occurs in only about 59 percent of the reported cases. The report states that the difference is caused “by the implementation of more lucrative and less risky methods of theft” including pilferage, fictitious pickup and facility thefts.

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