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Cargo theft report: Number of thefts drops while value loss per load increases

cargo theftThe number of cargo thefts recorded in the rolling quarter between September and November was 222 — an 8 percent jump from the prior quarter (June-August), but a small decrease from the prior rolling three months, when 231 cargo thefts were reported, according to data released by FreightWatch International this week.

However, the value loss per load increased from both, jumping 47 percent from June-August’s $166,454 and 57 percent from July-September’s $154,866 to an average of $244,604.

Related: Spec’ing trucks to prevent cargo theft

Food and drink loads and electronics — usually the two hottest targets for cargo thieves — remained so in the quarter, and each saw an uptick in thefts and percentage of total thefts, presumably due to an uptick in holiday-related freight, both in food and van loads.

Food and drink loads accounted for 25 percent (55) of the loads stolen, and electronics made up 17 percent (37) of the stolen loads. Food and drink loads usually account for about 20 percent of lost loads in three-month periods, and electronics usually make up about 12 percent.

Targeted food and drink loads include meats, cereals, carbonated drinks and prepared foods, FreightWatch said. Electronics loads included televisions, computers and computer accessories.

Related: Preventing cargo theft: Educate drivers on best practices, what to do when followed

Home/garden goods accounted for 21 thefts, 9 percent, of incidents. Metals accounted for 9 percent, while clothing/shoes and miscellaneous categories each made up 8 percent.

California once again saw the majority of the thefts, this time accounting for 36 percent of the total — 81 thefts. Florida, Texas, Illinois and Georgia round out the top five, which combined accounted for more than 75 percent of all thefts reported in the quarter.

Per location, unsecured parking made up 79 percent (110) of the thefts, while secured parking made up 12 percent, 16 thefts. Facility thefts made up 1 percent, falling from 17 in the prior quarter to just one in this one, according to FreightWatch.

Theft of trailer or container made up a big majority of thefts in the quarter — 77 percent, 170 incidents — which is usual trend, FreightWatch says. Theft from trailer/container rose from the prior quarter to 21 from 13 incidents, making up 9 percent of total loads stolen.

Other forms of theft — facility burglary, last-mile courier, deceptive pickup and hijacking — accounted for 6 percent.


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James Jaillet is Senior Editor for Overdrive and the Commercial Carrier Journal. Reach him at