Cargo Theft Hurts Canadian Economy
According to Richard Dubin, vice president of investigative services for the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), cargo theft doesn't just affect a single load or a particular company, but in fact adversely affects the economy as a whole.
IBC supports giving cargo theft a higher profile and adopting tougher sentencing, Dubin states. “Sentencing hasn’t been very tough for this type of crime. A perfect example is there are cases where a person gets caught with a million dollars of narcotics – cocaine, whatever – and they get a very heavy jail sentence. They’ll grab somebody who was involved in stealing a trailer load and they’re not, at times, getting jail sentences,” he adds. That is one reason why IBC lobbied for Bill S-9, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code, which at its heart, is auto theft legislation.
“The beauty of Bill S-9 is it also includes the seizure of property obtained by crime, which would cover cargo theft,” Dubin states. “As a result of that, we are working with CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) now where they are prepared through intelligence to identify containers that they think have stolen cargo and start seizing those containers.” Under the act, trafficking in property obtained by crime and possession of property obtained by crime for the purposes of trafficking are subject to imprisonment for as long as 14 years.
Beyond enhanced awareness and tougher sentencing, though, is the need for greater consistency in how cargo crime is reported. Dubin says that IBC is working with both law enforcement and Statistics Canada to develop some form of standardized reporting. “Without data analysis, you really are in the dark in terms of what trends are basically taking place.”
One new trend involves what is being stolen. “Originally, what we were finding is they were stealing just the cargo,” Dubin says. But review of recent data indicates that “over and over and over again, we’re seeing they’re stealing the whole thing: they’re stealing the tractor, the trailer and the cargo.” At present, two main theft targets are automotive parts and food/groceries. Goods may end up in a warehouse where they are quickly transferred to another container and shipped elsewhere, or they may remain in the same warehouse and be sold off in pieces.
Louis Malbeuf, an inspector with the York Regional Police, emphasizes the need to work together and report when a theft, in fact, occurs. “What I find is a lot of the companies, for whatever reason, they won’t report it,” perhaps because insurance premiums will increase or they are “embarrassed because their security was so lax,” he said. Companies need to get beyond that and report incidents to someone.
Source: Cargo Theft a Hit to Canadian Economy, Security: Fraud Forum by Canadian Underwriter (September 24, 2014).
Tia Chisholm, HUB International TRANSPORTATION
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