Cargo Theft is a $15 to $35 billion industry that can drive up Truck Insurance premiums and deductibles. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there were 8,676 cargo vehicle thefts reported in the U.S. in 2017, translating to about 24 thefts every day.
And it appears the COVID-19 pandemic is only making the problem worse. Freight Waves reported a 26.92% year-over-year increase in reported cargo thefts in September 2020 and a 91.43% year-over-year increase in April 2020.
If you want to minimize the cost of lost loads, the effort of recovery, and increased insurance costs, you need to take steps to ensure the safety of the cargo you’re shipping. Here are some tips:
Know What is In Demand
Drivers need to know if they’re transporting in-demand commodities so that they can take additional precautions. Thieves will steal what they can resell, and they can be very focused.
Typical targets include food and beverages (which can be quickly consumed and leave no trace), consumer electronics, and drugs. After severe storms, there is an increase in building supplies being stolen. It’s no surprise that during the pandemic in the third quarter of 2020, there was a significant increase in the theft of commodities such as cleaning supplies and PPE.
Freight Waves also reports an increase in pilferage theft – stealing small portions of a load. Trailer break-ins and pilferages accounted for 22% of all reported robberies in the third quarter of 2020.
If a driver knows they are carrying high-value or in-demand products, they need to be even more vigilant.
Know the High-Risk Places and Times
Thieves tend to go where the pickings are good. According to Port Technology, Los Angeles (traffic of 9.46 million TEU in 2018) and Long Beach (8.09 million TEU) are the two busiest container ports in the U.S., so it’s no surprise that California tops the list of the biggest hot spots for cargo theft. Texas is at the center of cross-border freight, which accounts for its second place on the list.
The NICB reported the ten states that are the biggest targets for cargo thefts are:
- California (1,770)
- Texas (1,255)
- Florida (921)
- Illinois (712)
- New Jersey (468)
- Georgia (438)
- Alabama (214)
- North Carolina (204)
- Indiana (192)
- Missouri (181)
According to the NICB, most cargo thefts occur on weekdays, with Monday and Friday being the most significant days for these thefts. So, if a driver is driving through California on a Monday or Friday with an in-demand commodity, they should be on high alert.
Hire and Train Wisely
Drivers are responsible for hundreds or thousands of dollars in commodities, so it’s crucial that you hire the most honest and dependable drivers (and warehouse employees). It starts with innovative recruiting. Attract the best drivers by showing that your company is a great company to work for and let them know what your company is all about with pictures and videos on your website and social media sites. Another way to attract the best drivers is to offer competitive wages.
It’s also crucial that you screen potential hires (and warehouse workers or anyone with access to shipping information) with thorough background checks following your industry’s screening laws. Background checks could potentially include criminal records, drug and alcohol testing, driving records, and license checks.
You should also establish best practices and provide security training, including hijack awareness and prevention, so drivers know how to protect themselves, along with your truck and your cargo.
How to Save on Truck Insurance Costs
Another key to managing risk is Trucking Insurance. American Insuring Group offers all of your Truck Insurance needs – from Cargo Insurance to Transit Coverage and more. Give one of our independent agents a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free quote. They’ll check with several insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price possible for your insurance needs.