The number of truck cargo thefts in the U.S. increased in the first quarter of the year but the average value of each heist declined, according to a new report from the logistics security services provider FreightWatch International.
It recorded a total of 221 cargo thefts, an increase of 13% from the fourth quarter of 2015 and up 8% compared to the first quarter of last year. However, the average loss value per incident fell to $112.467, down 13% from the previous quarter and a 56% decline from a year earlier.
The decline in the average loss value, according to FreightWatch, is likely due to it recording no theft valued at more than $1 million in this latest quarter, versus two in the final quarter of 2015 and seven in the first quarter of last year.
It recorded a dramatic increase in the theft of building and industrial products by 222% from the fourth quarter of 2015 and by 263% from the first quarter of last year. FreightWatch also noted a correlation between geographical surges in stolen building supplies in states where the housing market continues to grow, most notably in Texas.
California ranked as the top state for cargo theft with 21% of total thefts, followed by Texas with 15% of heists. Florida ranked a close third with a 66% increase in thefts from the final quarter of 2015 followed by New Jersey at 13% and Georgia with 7% of thefts to round out the top five. Alabama made a notable appearance, ranking seventh with only 3% of total thefts but it experienced a 600% and 250% increase, from the 2015 fourth and first quarters, respectively, as 43% of its thefts were in the building and industrial category.
The most prevalent location for large-scale cargo thefts continued to be unsecured parking areas, identified in 89% of incidents in which a location type was declared. Thefts from warehouse/distribution center location types came in second with 6% of thefts and secured parking areas accounted for 5% of thefts.
· Watch what you say: Don’t tell everyone what you’re hauling or where you’re heading. This includes social media and CB chatter.
· Watch where you park: Try to park in well-lit, busy truck stop areas near buildings, fueling islands and restaurants. Backing up to buildings, fences and other trailers can make it harder for thieves to open your trailer doors.
· Always be aware of your surroundings: This means always being aware of what’s around you whether you’re moving or parked. If you think someone is following or tailing you, try slowing down and switching lanes to see what happens.
· Always padlock your trailer!