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Average Cargo Theft Loss Jumps 38.5% Despite Fewer Thefts

May 5, 2014

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In the first quarter of 2014 a total of 206 full-truckload cargo theft incidents in the United States were recorded, according to a new report from logistics security services provider FreightWatch International.

The average loss value per was $207,982. Compared with the first quarter of 2013, this represent a 4.9% decrease in volume, but is a 38.5% increase in loss value, “indicating the continued persistence and increasing sophistication of organized cargo criminals,” the company said.

Food/drinks was again the product type most often stolen in the quarter, accounting for 21% of all incidents. Home/garden took the second place spot from typical runner-up, electronics, recording 15% of thefts, mainly consisting of appliances, furniture and home decor. The electronics industry experienced 13% of thefts, primarily of televisions and computer components.

Cargo theft heat map, first quarter 2014. Credit: FreightWatch International
Cargo theft heat map, first quarter 2014. Credit: FreightWatch International

While the average loss value across all incidents was $207,982, the average losses in specific product types varied widely. In this quarter, the clothing/shoes category had the highest loss value, at $943,699.

California once again claimed the top spot with 27% of the total thefts. Florida’s had 20% of all incidents, while Georgia supplanted Texas, which is normally in a battle for second place with Florida, with 11.2% of all thefts. Close behind, Texas logged 10.7% of the total. Illinois, sustaining the elevated numbers seen in 2013, placed fifth with 7.3% of all thefts. The top five states combined accounted for more than 76% of all national cargo thefts.

Unsecured parking, experienced 122 thefts during the first quarter, primarily at truck stops, was the location targeted most often by cargo thieves when a location was recorded.

Warehouse/distribution centers narrowly surpassed secured parking locations, with 12 thefts to secured parking’s 11 incidents.

Following usual trends, incidents involving theft of trailer/container, 176 in all, were most common during the first quarter, accounting for 85% of all thefts. Theft from trailer/container comprised 10 thefts in this quarter and was the second most prevalent theft type. Deceptive pickups, down from last year’s numbers, still came in third with nine incidents, a 57% decrease from the same quarter last year.

"Although there were many more reports of carriers with compromised identity than usual, indicating that this theft type is still on the rise, FreightWatch is committed to the integrity of our data and only records confirmed theft instances,” the company said.

The full report is on the FreightWatch International website.

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