Food tops cargo theft list

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A cargo theft study indicates the most stolen cargo is food and that the crime is most likely to occur at a truckstop during a weekend.

LoJack Supply Chain Integrity released results from its initial cargo theft study, based on Supply Chain-Information Sharing and Analysis Center information. A 1998 presidential directive created SC-ISAC to help supply chain and law enforcement members guard against illegal or disruptive activities.

LoJack based the report on 2008 data from 1,500 SC-ISAC members; 299 cases of the 353 incidents involved cargo theft. Robert Furtado, the company’s chief executive officer, called cargo theft “a serious, ongoing problem that is very profitable for professional thieves and very costly for organizations.”

Here is what the research indicates, with the number of incidents in parenthesis:

  • The top states for cargo theft are Texas (68), Georgia (53) and California (16);
  • The most common location for theft are truckstops (83), parking lots and drop yards (67) and facilities (40); and
  • The most common days are Saturday/Sunday (168), Monday (46) and Thursday (40).
  • Food was the most often stolen cargo in 13 percent of the incidents, followed by pharmaceutical/medical and building supplies, at 12 percent each. Eighty-seven percent of thefts were reported without theft location information, but the researchers believe it is likely the same location dispersal would apply to those incidents.

    “According to our analysis of the data, food and drugs are essentials that are always a target of thieves, but especially so in a depressed economy,” Furtado said. “That may explain why those items topped the list, while ‘nice-to-have’ items like music, movies and software came in at only 1 percent. The bottom line is that whether the economy is good or challenging, it is critical for a company to protect its cargo.”

    The percentage of building supply thefts is perhaps because of high copper prices and the lack of oversight on the origins of scrap materials. However, recently enacted laws may help to reduce this theft trend.

    Researchers advocate learning more about theft through:

  • Industry regional supply chain security council participation;
  • Networking at law enforcement/cargo theft task force functions;
  • Joining National Transportation Security organizations; and
  • Participating in SC-ISAC.
  • They also recommend companies have a supply chain security operation and use a layered approach to protect against theft.

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