Cargo theft update: Incidents drop, but thieves becoming more sophisticated, report says

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Updated Sep 5, 2014

Between April and June, 179 cargo thefts were recorded in the U.S., according to cargo theft-prevention firm FreightWatch International’s quarterly report, which is a 4.9 percent decline from the same quarter in 2013.

The average loss value per incident, however, rose 5.6 percent to $174,415, which can be attributed to the “persistence and increased sophistication of organized cargo criminals,” FreightWatch says.

The firm also said the risk level for cargo theft incidents in the U.S. is “high” — the second highest rating.

Food and drink loads again were the most targeted load type, accounting for 34 thefts, 19 percent of the total. Targeted loads included meats, nuts, frozen foods and candy, FreightWatch says.

Electronics jumped to the second spot in the second quarter with 32 thefts, or 18 percent. Stolen electronics loads mostly were televisions, phones and computer components, according to FreightWatch’s report.

Building and industrial loads accounted for the third most stolen load type with 19 thefts, 11 percent.

Just shy of 75 percent of the thefts occurred in just five states: Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Illinois.

Florida saw 45 thefts (25 percent), while Texas had 29 (16 percent) and California had 28 (15.6 percent). Georgia and Illinois both had 15 thefts each (8 percent each).

Theft of trailer/container accounted for 76 percent of thefts. Theft from trailer/container made up 8 percent, followed by deceptive pickups (a form of identity theft) with 6 percent. Driver theft accounted for 2 percent, and hijacking made up 1 percent.

Loads of medication (a form of pharmaceuticals) far and away had the highest value loss per incident with $2.8 million, followed by electronics’ $304,000. Loads of personal care products saw the third highest value loss per load at $232,375.

All other load types were under $100,000.