Fleet Management

Cargo Thefts Decrease In U.S., Mexico Announces Plan To Combat Highway Crime

April 03, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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Logistics security services provider FreightWatch International has issued two new reports, one showing cargo theft fell in the United State from December 2012 through last February and another about a plan in Mexico to combat crime along its highways, including cargo thefts.

From December 2012 through February 2013, FreightWatch recorded a total of 199 thefts in the United States, with 77 thefts in December, 53 in January and 69 in February. The average loss value per incident during this period was $133,711. Compared with the previous three months thefts fell by 20% and average loss value dropped by 39%.

Food and drinks, with 49 thefts, was the product type most often stolen, accounting for one out of every four thefts. Products targeted include meats and seafood, juice and prepared foods. There were 25 electronics thefts, 13% of the total, mainly of TVs, cell phones and video game consoles. There were 20 thefts, or 10% of all thefts, in the metals category, including copper, steel and scrap metals.

During this three-month period, Florida experienced the most thefts, while California, the typical top spot holder, dropped to fourth place. The 34 incidents in Florida accounted for 17% of all incidents across the country. Texas had 30 thefts, or 15% of the total, while Georgia had 27 or 14%, making them the second and third most popular states, respectively, for cargo theft. California experienced 21 thefts, accounting for 11% of them overall. Michigan, which was identified in FreightWatch’s 2012 U.S. Annual Report as a new cargo theft hot spot, experienced seven incidents, elevating it to 7th place from its typical rank of about 20th.

Unsecured parking, accounting for 61% of thefts, was the location cargo thieves targeted most often when a location was recorded. Facility was second in theft occurrences, with 9%.

Following usual trends, incidents involving theft of trailer, 132 in all, were most common, accounting for 66% of all thefts during the three-month period. Thefts involving deceptive pickup remained steady at 15, comprising 8% of all thefts.

Mexico Highway Crime

Meantime, a separate report from FreightWatch says Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de Seguridad, or National Commission on Security, has a new initiative intended to decrease crime on the country’s highways, including cargo crimes, called Cuadrantes Carreteros or Highway Quadrants.

It says the government’s strategy is to divide the country into five regions and within those regions create 136 total quadrants. Each quadrant is to be staffed with federal police to deploy at any given moment.

The program is divided into three parts with federal police units dedicated to each. One part is mobile surveillance where officers will be actively patrolling Mexico’s highways within their assigned quadrants. Their purpose is to prevent accidents and crime by deterrence and to provide assistance to those in need.

The second involves stationary surveillance in which officers will be stationed at strategic points along the highway offering assistance to those in need. They will provide directions and information to those traveling on Mexico’s highway.

The third leg of this approach involved mixed surveillance where officers will be stationed at strategic points but will also be patrolling, as they are responsible for responding to criminal activity as well as traffic incidents.

FreightWatch says the goal is to also be able to identify the organization and structure of criminal organizations that operate on Mexico’s highways. Authorities are hopeful that these activities will lead to decreasing crime rates along the country’s highways. They are also planning on using information collected to better allocate resources to combating highway crimes.

This operation is currently in the testing phase but authorities are hopeful for a full rollout later this year.

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