When it comes to cargo theft, 2017 brought both good news and bad. Good: the number of recorded cargo thefts in 2017 dropped 15 percent from 2016 according to the Transported Asset Protection Association. Bad: the average value of thefts went up slightly, averaging about $146,000 per loss. What gives? The data suggest that organized thieves are focusing on shipments that can be more easily stolen or fenced or targeting specific products.
To help minimize loss within your wholesale operation’s fleet, review these tips with employees:
1. Hope for the best, plan for the worst
Make sure you have all the information you need in the event your load is stolen. Document your tractor and trailer license plate numbers and markings and know who to call to report the theft.
2. Put your head on a swivel
Be aware that thieves may be watching and even following your vehicles. Before starting a trip, look for properly secured seals and locks or evidence of tampering.
3. Zip your lips
Avoid discussing any cargo-related details—such as type of cargo, shipper’s identity, or itinerary—on CB radios and cell phones. Don’t share brand names, as they may cue a thief that you’re carrying a high-risk load, such as computers. In addition, only share cargo or load information with others at your company on a need to know basis. Avoid discussing any cargo-related details—such as type of cargo, shipper’s identity, or itinerary—on CB radios and cell phones.
4. Hold on to your keys
It might be tempting to leave your truck running on a hot or cold day, but don’t do it! Smashing a window and driving off with your load is all too easy for a brazen thief.
5. Lock it up
Always lock tractor and trailer, whether you are stopping “just for a minute” to make a customer delivery or parking overnight. A thief can quickly steal inventory from a trailer or jump in your vehicle and take the entire load. Secure your trailers at drop off using, at a minimum, king pin locks. Even better? Outfit vehicles with electronic security locks, GPS tracking, and alarm systems.
6. Find secure lots
Park in secure, well-lit, patrolled lots. If possible, use lots with fencing and monitored access. Avoid parking overnight at a truck stop; if unavoidable, park your rig to block access to the trailer doors.
7. Know your way
Make sure you know how to get to and from the consignee, and try to avoid arriving too early for delivery. Sitting in your trailer in the early morning hours makes you a tempting target to a thief.
8. Change it up
If possible, vary your routes and timing of stops to frustrate potential thieves or terrorists from being able to predict your movements.
9. See it, say it
Report any suspicious activity while loading your trailer or while a shipment is in transit. Alert dispatch during extended stops at truck stops and rest areas.
10. Put security above courtesy
Avoid picking up day laborers or others looking for rides. In addition, don’t let others—even someone you know—follow behind you into an area secured by keypad gates or other controlled access technology.
Cargo theft can be expensive, but there are actions your business can take to reduce your risk. Having your team follow these precautions can help ward off thieves, protect your employees and inventory, and keep your wholesale operation running smoothly.
This website is general in nature, and is provided as a courtesy to you. Information is accurate to the best of Liberty Mutual’s knowledge, but companies and individuals should not rely on it to prevent and mitigate all risks as an explanation of coverage or benefits under an insurance policy. Consult your professional advisor regarding your particular facts and circumstance. By citing external authorities or linking to other websites, Liberty Mutual is not endorsing them.