164268575 | Valmedia Creative | Dreamstime
164268575 Valmedia Creative Dreamstime Turkey Truck

Thanksgiving cargo theft trends

Nov. 22, 2021
CargoNet statistics show enhanced risk of cargo theft around holiday periods as thieves see extended closures of businesses as an opportunity to steal freight without detection.

With the ongoing supply chain crisis, it is more important than ever to make sure that valuable freight reaches its destination safely. CargoNet's statistics show that there is enhanced risk of cargo theft around holiday periods as thieves see extended closures of businesses as an opportunity to steal freight without detection.

To help transportation industry professionals prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, CargoNet analyzed theft records from the previous five Thanksgiving holidays. There were 137 theft records recorded in the analysis period with an average of 27 per year. Thanksgiving 2020 was the most active period in the analysis, with 40 records of theft recorded. The average shipment value exceeded $125,000.

Theft reports were most common in states that have cargo theft problems throughout the year; this includes California, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and Florida. Cargo thieves targeted shipments of televisions, major appliances, mixed electronics, and alcoholic beverages the most in this analysis period.

Threats to shipments this holiday

  • Full truckload thefts across the Southeast, Eastern Seaboard, and Midwest: For several months now, CargoNet has been tracking heightened activity in these areas and evidence points to both planned theft by following desirable shipments from their origin and crimes of opportunity at truck stops along major trucking arteries in these regions. CargoNet considers desirable shipments to include pharmaceuticals, firearms and ammunition, consumer electronics, designer apparel, alcoholic beverages, metals, and tires.
  • Theft of computer electronics shipments departing California: CargoNet has been tracking increased targeting of computer electronics shipments across Southern California, Central California, and the Bay Area. Almost all recorded thefts were of shipments that were stolen after the trucker departed a warehouse in Southern California or the Bay Area. Activity appears to have peaked in June 2021, but we still consider theft risk to be high.

Organizations can step up security by arranging for same-day delivery of short-haul shipments, embedding covert tracking devices, and by using high-security locks to prevent trailer burglaries. Drivers should not leave their vehicles or shipments unattended, especially within 250 miles of pickup. Drivers should also be on the lookout for any vehicles that appear to be following them.

Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately and contact CargoNet at 888-595-2638 only after law enforcement has been notified and there are no immediate threats to life or property.

*Analysis period is defined as the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving to Monday after Thanksgiving for 2016 through 2020.

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