There were 870 cargo thefts throughout the United States in 2020, an increase of 23% compared with thefts in 2019, and the highest recorded volume in the last five years, according to an annual report conducted by Sensitech, a product and service provider of solutions to monitor the supply chain.
The average value of the thefts in 2020 also jumped to a five-year high of $166,854, an increase of 41% compared with 2019 numbers. In 2020, there were 10 thefts valued at $1 million or more, compared with four thefts in 2019.
Sensitech offiicals said in the report that they consider cargo thefts to be on the rise.
Volume of cargo thefts increased for the second consecutive year, a first since 2011. There was a rate of 2.39 thefts per day.
April, the first full month affected by the pandemic, was the busiest month for cargo theft. About 11% of the annual theft total was recorded in April. December was the next busiest month, logging 10% of the annual total.
Product targeting during the COVID-19 pandemic was specific to merchandise that was already in shortage, Sensitech officials said. Those products included personal protective equipment, ventilators, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, toilet paper and paper towels.
About 48% of all recorded thefts in 2020 occurred in California (20%), Texas (18%) and Florida (~11%).
Sensitech’s Supply Chain Intelligence Center actively tracks and records the date and location of large-scale cargo theft activity in the United States and categorizes the stolen loads by product type. The thefts included in the report are only those reported through transportation security counciles, insurance companies and law enforcement organization.