In the third quarter of 2012, FreightWatch recorded a total of 225 thefts in the United States, with an average loss value per incident of $172,403, a 23% increase from the previous three months of the year.

There were 78 thefts in July, 71 in August and 76 in September.

FreightWatch has created three new product categories to reduce the number of thefts being lumped into "miscellaneous."

Cosmetics/Personal Care includes nonmedical personal hygiene and beauty products used by consumers, including makeup and toothpaste. The new Jewelry/Accessories includes handbags, jewelry and other accessories. Metals is now its own product type, separate from the Building/Industrial category.

Sub-categories were also added under the Pharmaceuticals, Jewelry/Accessories and Clothing/Shoes product types.

Luxury Goods is a sub-category under both the Clothing/Shoes and Jewelry/Accessories categories to identify high-value and brand-name products.

New sub-categories under the Pharmaceuticals product type are Rx, OTC Medication, Medical Devices and Consumer Products. Rx products are prescription medication; OTC Medication is over-the-counter medication; Consumer Products are health-related items such as contact lens solution, infant formula and vitamins; and the Medical Devices subcategory includes various kinds of medical equipment.

Food/Drinks was the product type most often stolen in the third quarter, with 35 thefts, or 16% of all thefts in the quarter. Products targeted in this category included soft drinks, coffee and various meats and produce. The Electronics category saw 30 thefts (13%), mainly of computers, TVs and cell phones. There were 26 thefts (12%) in the Auto/Parts category, including tires, motor oil and batteries.

Despite the increase in overall thefts in the third quarter, most product types saw a decrease in the volume of thefts from the second quarter. The Food/Drinks, Miscellaneous and Home/Garden types are the exception, as thefts in those categories increased for the quarter.

From July to September, California saw the most thefts. The 45 incidents in that traditionally high-theft state accounted for 20% of all incidents across the country. Florida, another hot spot, experienced 37 thefts (16%) and Texas had 30 (13%), making them the second and third most popular states for cargo theft in the third quarter.

Unsecured parking was the location targeted most often by cargo thieves when a location was recorded.

Following usual trends, incidents involving theft of trailer, 166 in all, were most common from July through September, accounting for 75% of all thefts during the quarter. Thefts involving deceptive pickup rose slightly, to 17, comprising 8% of all thefts in the quarter.

While the average loss value across all incidents was $172,403 for the July through September period, the average losses in specific product types varied widely. In this quarter, the Jewelry/Accessories category had the highest loss value, although this product type experienced only one theft, targeting cargo valued at $600,000. The Consumer Care product type also suffered just one loss, but its value was the lowest at $11,123. Electronics, a typically high-value category, saw an average loss per theft of $329,123.