Cargo Thieves Are Always Planning, Are You?


In an interview with Scott Cornell, a “transportation business lead and crime and theft specialist for Travelers Insurance”, Mark B. Solomon brings us up to speed on the latest updates in cargo theft, and discusses how companies can attempt to stay one step ahead of the game and protect their products.

Although the decline in cargo theft by 17 percent since 2016 is a good thing, there were still over 700 filed claims equating to $89 million dollars worth in cargo theft; this does not include all unreported incidents.  Expertise in shipping, transportation, and freight holding is not a knowledge base that is privy to those who have legal rights to the products. Thieves are flexible and intelligent; companies must be as well. Holidays are a popular time for thieves to strike...while most are spreading cheer, exchanging gifts, and relaxing, products are being siphoned away from companies at the hands of cargo thieves.  In order to combat this, Cornell recommends: implementing good procedures, staff training, and taking preventive security measures.

While straight” theft is still the most common (physically taking cargo from a location) “strategic” theft is also on the rise.  In order to protect cargo, companies must secure both the physical freight and the databases that store cargo information. Another deterrence to thieves is simply asking questions; do not hesitate to ask for more information about those handling your products.  Cornell recommends vetting “all carriers and brokers through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Internet search engines, third-party vetting companies, and industry associations” in order to be sure you are associating with trustworthy individuals.

Once cargo thieves develop a seamless plan, they will execute it repeatedly until convinced not to, whether by a change in security measures or the knowledge that local law enforcement has caught wind of their activity.  If caught, they will move to new areas or perhaps quickly switch theft tactics. Remember, there are multiple types of cargo theft and a variety of ways your products can be in danger. Do not wait until an incident occurs to prepare, and take a “layered approach” to protecting your cargo.  Pay attention to your freight, or the unwanted attention of cargo thieves will rapidly settle on you.

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