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Third Quarter Cargo Thefts Rise from Second Quarter, Value Drops

October 23, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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The logistics security services company, FreightWatch International, reports in the third quarter of the year it recorded a total of 231 thefts in the United States, the same amount as a year ago, but the value of each theft averaged less.

The average loss value per incident during the quarter was $154,866. Compared with the third quarter of last year, these results are equal in volume and 15% lower in value, however, they represent a 15% increase in volume and a 5% decrease in value as compared with the second quarter of 2013.

Food/drinks was the product type most often stolen in the July through August period, with 49 thefts, or 21% of all thefts in the quarter.

California once again claimed the top spot with 71 thefts, or 31% of the total, as it continued its ascent in cargo theft volume. Florida’s 30 thefts put the state in second place with 13% of all incidents. Illinois, seeing a surge in recent months with thefts centered around Chicago, tied Texas for third place at 28 thefts, with each state claiming 12% of the total. Together, the top six states recorded 181 cargo thefts, or 78% of the total recorded thefts for the entire country.

Unsecured parking experienced 107 thefts during the third quarter, primarily at truck stops, and was the location targeted most often by cargo thieves, when a location was recorded.

Following usual trends, incidents involving theft of trailer/container, 169 in all, were most common during the third quarter, accounting for 73% of all thefts. Theft from trailer/container comprised 18 thefts in this quarter and was the second most prevalent theft type.

The clothing/shoes category had the highest loss value, at $403,553, due to several high-end apparel thefts and one theft of expensive watches. The electronics product type logged the second highest average value, at $287,258. alcohol/tobacco, while not seeing an especially high volume of thefts, did have a high average loss value of $195,068. The average loss value of $178,194 in the pharmaceutical sector proves this industry is still a worthwhile target for thieves.

Thefts by drivers have been more or less on the rise in volume since 2009, with a sharp increase from 2011 to September of 2013. Already at an all-time high with 40 incidents logged in the first three quarters of 2013, 67% higher than all of 2012, these thefts are expected to continue to rise through the year, as the historically high-volume fourth quarter is upon us.

The full report, along with others, is available on the FreightWatch International website

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