Cargo theft continues to plague freight haulers across the U.S. With more spikes around the holiday season, according to the most recent Cargonet report, thieves have increasingly preyed on the trucking industry over the past five years.
According to Cargonet, strategic cargo theft is on the rise. This includes when thieves trick targets into giving them cargo through methods such as identity theft, fictitious pickup, and double brokering, according to Cornell. Strategic cargo theft is less risky for thieves than straight cargo theft because it doesn’t require the culprits to be physically present. Because of this reduced risk, Cornell believes strategic cargo theft will continue to be a problem in 2024.
When it comes to stolen commodities, Cargonet reports that cargo thieves prefer shipments including “energy drinks, sodas, liquor, hard seltzers, motor oils, tires, and solar panels.” But Cargonet also notes a broader range of commodities have recently been targeted, including “footwear, clothing, beauty products, ATVs, and construction equipment.” According to Cornell, the economy drives what commodities are targeted for cargo theft; however, food and beverages are always targets because they’re consumable.
Cornell told FleetOwner that while areas such as Southern California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Memphis, and Chicago are cargo theft hotspots, there are also increasing thefts in areas across the U.S. that didn’t see thefts previously.
“Over the last 18 months, we've noticed cargo theft spreading into non-traditional areas of the country,” Cornell said. “Because if I'm stealing virtually, and I don't have to care about where it sits, I can target a load of meat coming out of Iowa instead of a load of meat coming out of Texas. As a thief, my thought process is going to be: ‘People in North Dakota don't think about cargo theft. So I'm going to target some loads coming out of North Dakota.’”