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Cargo Theft Drops, Average Value Around $189,000

August 3, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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The darkest areas indicate where cargo thefts happen the most. Graphic: FWI
The darkest areas indicate where cargo thefts happen the most. Graphic: FWI

Cargo thefts in the U.S. are on the decline, but the value of each heist is virtually unchanged compared to last year, according to a new second quarter report from the logistics security services provider FreightWatch International.

It recorded a total of 178 cargo thefts during the period, with 60 in April, 66 during May and 52 in June. The total number is 11% lower than during the first quarter of the year and 7% less than during the 2014 second quarter.

The average loss value per incident during this time was $189,307, a 27% drop from the first quarter of 2015, but less than a 1% increase from the same time last year.

The amount of thefts valued at over $1 million was zero during the period, while seven such incidents happened in the first quarter of this year and two during the second quarter of 2014.

Food and drinks continued to be the most stolen product type in second quarter, with 16% of total cargo thefts. The home and garden category joined electronics as the second most stolen product type, with each having 14% of the total.

Texas ranked as the top state for cargo theft, with 18% of total thefts in this quarter, an increase of 10% and 19% the first quarter of this year and the second quarter of 2014, respectively. California, with 17% of the total, came in second, while Florida was third after seeing a 37% drop in thefts from the first quarter of the year. Georgia, which saw thefts drop 27% from the first quarter of 2015, but recorded a 12% percent increase from a year earlier, had the fourth most thefts. New Jersey theft incidents fell by 60% to land in the fifth spot.

Incidents involving theft of full truckload continued to be the most common during the second quarter of the year with 83% of all reported thefts. Pilferage accounted for 8% of total thefts this quarter, a drop of 33% from the first quarter of this year. Fictitious pickup accounted for 5% of thefts, a 43% increase from the first quarter 2015. Facility theft recorded 3% of the theft total and had the highest average value of any theft type at $335,516.

The most prevalent location for large-scale cargo thefts continues to be unsecured parking, identified in 90% of reported incidents. Of these thefts, 29% occurred at public parking and another 23% from truck stops. Thefts from warehouse/distribution locations came in second with 6% of thefts and secured parking areas accounted for 3% of thefts this quarter.

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