Safety & Compliance

Cargo Theft Incidents Decline While Value Increases

July 21, 2013

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In the second quarter of 2013, the logistics security services provider FreightWatch International recorded a total of 194 thefts in the United States, a 27% increase in value and a 12% decrease in volume from the same time a year ago. That compares to a 4% increase in value and a 15% decrease in volume compared to the first quarter of this year.

There were 45 thefts in April, 66 in May and 83 in June. The average loss value per incident during the quarter was $164,594.

FreightWatch says delays in incident reporting have caused measurable increases in theft volumes in the weeks following publication of FreightWatch quarterly reports, so totals for the most recent quarter are expected to rise above those the first quarter of 2013.

In the most recent quarter, food/drinks was the product type most often stolen, representing 31% of all thefts. The electronics industry experienced 22 thefts,  or 11%, primarily of TVs and computers, while the building/industrial category saw 19 thefts, or 10% of the total, largely targeting roofing shingles.

California claimed the top spot with 57 thefts, or 29% of the total. Texas’s 32 thefts put the state in second place, with 17% of all incidents. Illinois ended the quarter in third place, edging out Florida with 21 thefts, or 11% of the total. Florida, typically in the top three states, was in fourth place with 20 thefts, or 10% of total. Together, the top six states recorded 156 cargo thefts, or 80% of the total recorded thefts for the entire country.

Unsecured parking, which experienced 109 thefts in the second quarter of the year, was the location targeted most often by cargo thieves when a location was recorded. Facility was second in theft occurrences, with 18 incidents. Although there were 15 thefts at secured parking.

Following usual trends, incidents involving theft of trailer, 142 in all, were most common during second quarter of 2013, accounting for 73% of all thefts during the quarter.

Thefts involving deceptive pickup fell from 21 in first quarter of the year to 13 in the latest reporting period, but still accounted for the second most common theft type in the quarter. Driver theft, last-mile courier and theft of container each experienced eight thefts, tying for third place.

While the average loss value across all incidents was $164,594 for the second quarter of this year, the average losses in specific product types varied widely. In this quarter, the alcohol category had the highest loss value, at $571,329, due to several high-end spirit thefts.

The tobacco product type logged the second highest average value, at $365,000. Clothing/shoes, while not seeing an especially high volume of thefts, did have a high average loss value of $322,500. Electronics thefts, averaging $238,462, stepped up in value following the first quarter average of $199,078.

Full details are available on the FreightWatch International website.

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