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Top Five Cargo Theft Prevention Tips

Everyone looks forward to long holiday weekends, especially cargo thieves who patiently wait for the right moment to pounce on an unattended trailer with goods in tow. Cargo theft increases 61% during holidays with theft at its highest during the Labor Day weekend. With billions of dollars lost to cargo theft rings, truckers and distributors must focus on concrete solutions to stop this growing and costly crime.

So for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, we suggest reviewing safety procedures and cargo theft prevention protocols with your drivers to protect your freight and preserve your revenue.

1. Avoid High Crime Areas

This may seem like common sense but not knowing where you are going is a good way to end up someplace you have never been, and that may not be a good place to end up. Route your drivers through areas away from crime hot spots. Keeping your ear to the ground and knowing where crime is highest is critical, even if it means taking a longer route to the destination. Areas with the highest rates of cargo theft include Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, the port areas of New Jersey and New York and the Chicago metro area.

2. Keep Moving Forward

Never let your goods sit for long periods of time.  90% of cargo theft in the US occurs when a trailer is dropped. Unattended trailers are optimal targets for cargo thieves scouting truck stops and parking areas where drivers drop trailers. Loaded trailers left at distribution centers or drop yards also make inviting targets.  Make sure that the equipment is parked inside fenced and locked locations or use a locking mechanism to ensure that a tractor cannot easily hook up and drive away. Truck stops are the most vulnerable and require unrequited attention. Work with drivers to make sure that they have done their trip planning.  This would include identifying fuel stops, locations to layover and even hotels that have monitored parking areas.

3. Use Trailer Tracking Devices

Concealed tracking devices allow you to identify when a truck or trailer goes significantly out of route or leaves a designated area (geofencing).  These devices alert dispatch and allow you to communicate the position of the vehicle to law enforcement.

4. Pick-up and Delivery Protocols

There have been a number of occasions where shippers have loaded a thief’s truck or an honest driver has delivered a shipment into the hands of thieves.  Make sure that all drivers are properly identified and that drivers know where they need to deliver their loads.  They need to see proper identification for personnel and make sure that they are unloading in the correct location.  Remember, when there is doubt, the driver should contact his/her dispatcher.

5. Do the Basics

Train drivers to be aware of their surroundings, to stay alert while driving and when at a rest stop. Sometimes staying clued into suspicious activity like trailing vehicles, overdue shipments or unplanned routes can make a big difference. Apply a variety of locks like king pin locks, air brake valve locks and glad hand locks. Seals also can deter theft but also alert drivers if doors have been tampered with.

Cargo thieves are becoming savvier with technology and infiltrating fleet operations to get at your cargo goods. HUB Transportation Insurance experts can help you implement cargo safety, driver training and risk management protocols to protect your goods and your revenue.

Steve Bojan, Vice President Fleet Risk Services provides risk management and fleet safety consulting services to business and trucking fleet.

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