- Reports of cargo theft in the U.S. dropped 19% between 2017 and 2018, according to numbers from SensiGuard, CCJ reported.
- There were 592 thefts in the U.S. last year worth an average of $142,342.
- Full truckloads accounted for 74% of cargo thefts, and electronics were the most common item stolen, making up 20% of all thefts.
Cargo is most vulnerable to theft when hauled by a truck, according to Tony Pelli, supply chain risk consultant at London-based BSI Group, who spoke with Supply Chain Dive last year.
"With air freight, it’s in the air; at sea, it’s hard to get to and piracy is not as common," Pelli said. "But with a truck ... it’s a 5 or 6-day journey with lots of stops and rest areas."
Technology has made it easier to track shipments. RFID can identify missing goods, and GPS can help track shipments in real time. But some savvy criminals have also started using high tech solutions including GPS jamming technology to keep cargo from being tracked.
It's not clear what led to the drop in thefts this year, but in last year's report SensiGuard said declining theft numbers were the result of criminals "honing in on shipments that they know can be fenced easily, or target products that have been 'ordered' by grey and black market distributors." While the number of overall thefts dropped between 2016 and 2017, the overall cost did not, which could be a sign that thieves are getting better at targeting desired shipments, the report said.
In the U.S., California had the most thefts in 2018, according to CCJ. California also held the top spot last year when it accounted for 28% of thefts.
"The states that top the cargo theft landscape are largely due to a few important factors such as the presence of large seaports, whose high volume of cargo allow for many information gathering opportunities for organized thieves and the confluence of major interstates, which offer target rich and underprotected truck stops," SensiGuard noted in its report from last year.
Locations where theft is more common, including California and Florida, tend to have more organized "cargo theft rings," according to SensiGuard.
Thefts at warehouses made up 19% of cargo thefts in just the third-quarter of 2018, followed by thefts at truck stops, which accounted for 18% of all theft during the third quarter, according to CargoNet.