Map of cargo theft activity hubs during the second quarter of the year .  Credit: FreightWatch International

Map of cargo theft activity hubs during the second quarter of the year. Credit: FreightWatch International

Logistics security services provider FreightWatch International said in the second quarter of 2014, it recorded 185 truck cargo thefts in the U.S., down 4.9% from the same time a year earlier.

Of those, 179 were full truckload cargo thefts while six were last-mile courier thefts.

The highest number, 70, of these thefts occurred in April, 66 in May, and 49 in June.

The average loss value per incident during the quarter was $174,415, up 5.6% from the same time in 2013.

“The average loss-value ceiling continues to rise as the persistence and increased sophistication of organized cargo criminals sustains,” FreightWatch said in its report. “Although the overall volume of incidents has decreased, the count is well within the margin of incidents expected to be collected in the upcoming weeks.”

The product type most often stolen was food/drinks with 19% of all incidents in the U.S. during the quarter. Home/garden cargoes, the second most stolen category in the first quarter of the year, saw a 45% drop in incidents from 31 thefts to 17 thefts, to end the quarter as the fourth most stolen product type with 9% of the total. Electronics regained its position at the second place spot with 32 thefts, or 18% of the total, while the personal care category recorded triple the amount of thefts year-over-year, with 15 thefts or 8% of the total. The building/industrial sector experienced the third most thefts with 19 or 11% of total thefts.

The category of pharmaceuticals had by far the highest of any category when it came to the average value of each heist at $2.8 million, while the electronics category was ranked second at nearly $305,000.

There was a significant change as Florida and Texas both surpassed California as cargo theft hot spots. Florida had 45 thefts, or 25.1% of the total, and Texas had 29 thefts or 16.2% of the total, respectively. California recorded the third highest theft rate with 28, or 15.6% of the total, a 53.3% decline from the first quarter of the year and a 52.5% drop from the second quarter of 2013.

“The suspected cause for this drop, according to the California Highway Patrol Cargo Theft Interdiction Program Taskforce, can be attributed to cargo theft crews relocating to other areas,” said FreightWatch. “Another possible cause is that the crews kept busy during the typically slower first quarter and are now lying in wait in the second quarter,” according to the taskforce.

Rounding out the top five states with the most cargo thefts were Georgia and Illinois. These top five states accounted for nearly three-quarters of all U.S. truck cargo thefts in FreightWatch's data.

Of the incidents in which a location was recorded, unsecured parking accrued the greatest number of incidents, primarily at truckstops, with a total of 113 thefts.

Following previous trends, incidents involving theft of trailer/container were most common during the second quarter with 131 thefts, or 76% of all thefts. Theft from trailer/container consisted of 14 thefts, an increase of 40% as compared to the first quarter of the year, and was the second most prevalent theft type. In a tie for third, both deceptive pickup and facility burglary each had 10 thefts. However, the latter increased by 100% compared to second quarter of last year and 67% compared to first quarter of this year.