Carriers and shippers are asked to stay alert and up their security measures as the holiday season quickly approaches. From now until the Monday after Thanksgiving, cargo theft is anticipated to surge, according to cargo security experts.
When looking at CargoNet statistics, last Thanksgiving held the highest number of cargo thefts in the last five years, accounting for 40 of the last 137 thefts around the Thanksgiving season. California led the states in theft, followed by Texas and Illinois, with electronics being the product of choice but food/beverages and household goods also ranking high. (1) The average value of a stolen load was $128,276.
Carrier Risk Solutions’ CEO Sam Tucker reminds carriers/trucks of 12 simple and effective ways to prevent cargo theft:
1) Avoid having the truck stop within 250 to 300 miles of beginning the trip. Many times, cargo thieves will target a particular truck. They will follow the truck and wait for the driver to stop for an extended period (food, shower, bathroom, etc.). The brief separation between the driver and the truck offers criminals the perfect opportunity to sweep in and take the load.
2) To help achieve number 1, ensure that you or your driver is well rested, has enough hours of service remaining, and has taken care of their basic human needs prior to beginning their trip.
3) Drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times and this is especially true when discussing cargo theft prevention. They must pay close attention to see if anyone may be following them. When choosing where to park during extended trips, opt for areas where other trucks are that are well lit and that provide some natural opportunities for prevention like backing up close to an embankment or building, etc. Doing this will provide some natural barriers to entry for the trailer while the activity will promote any suspicious activity being noted and/or reported more quickly.
4) Most cargo theft can be prevented for less than $100 per truck. This is accomplished by using a heavy duty padlock on the rear door(s) of the trailer and an “Air Cuff” lock in the tractor. The padlock discourages would be thieves from popping and shopping in the back of the truck while the air-cuff lock prevents the physical movement of the tractor by preventing the tractor and trailer brakes from being released. If your truck appears to be well protected, they may pass up the chance to make you a statistic.
5) Avoid dropping trailers or waiting for delivery in one of the “Hot Zone” areas mentioned above. This is especially true around holidays and weekends as activity around the area will likely be at a minimum.
6) Consider hiring extra security guards, especially around weekends and holiday periods. Make sure that those guards are well screened and that your contract with the security company doesn’t limit their liability in case of a cargo theft on their watch.
7) Be very clear about your expectations for the security guards. Prohibit them from allowing their friends/family to visit them at work and ensure that they make regular but random checks throughout your lot despite the weather or temperature. Consider using some monitoring programs to verify that checks are being made.
8) Make sure that all areas of your lot are well lit and can be seen by passing law enforcement officers. Challenge any suspicious person(s) visiting your business or possibly conducting surveillance on your terminal or warehouse location.
9) Make local law enforcement friends of your business! Invite them in for coffee and donuts (or whatever) once a month. Talk with them about your operation and the kinds of activities that might look suspicious.
10) Don’t skimp on locks and cameras for your terminal and lot. Invest in high quality locks for all exterior windows and doors and spend some extra money on a serious camera system if you are going to purchase one.
11) Ensure that all locks are actually working and engaged when the terminal location is unoccupied and that your security system is operational and armed. Some very smart thieves will “test” your security system for you by triggering your alarm system a few times prior to making their move in order to understand your response and that of local law enforcement. This is especially true if you have warehousing and/or storage at your terminal location and even more so if you ship/receive high value goods.
12) Engineer your business to have fewer loads around holiday periods. If the goods aren’t expected to arrive until Monday, potential thieves have a very nice head start on getting further away with the goods. Time is an enemy here.
Be Vigilant and Keep an Eye on your Products
With each day that passes, the odds of recovering stolen cargo drastically decrease, emphasizing the need to keep a close eye on your freight. But you shouldn’t need to stay awake all hours of the night to do so. A multi-layered approach needs to be taken for the best protection from cargo theft. Here are some ways Road Scholar Transport is helping keep your high valued goods safe during transport:
*We are an asset-based carrier so you can be sure that a uniformed Road Scholar Transport representative who is constantly trained on the latest cargo theft threats is moving your freight, not an imposter.
*We’ve never suffered a full cargo loss in company history.
*Expedited services are available so that your product is not sitting on a dock for days.
*All shipment locations and temperature ranges are tracked and monitored real time via telematics. Road Scholar uses track, trace, and temperature monitoring solutions to keep an electronic eye on freight.
*Geofencing capability-route and customer specific.
*24 x 7 dispatch and oversight.
*US customs approved Navalock-bolt cutter, sledgehammer and chisel proof. We use the Babaco TRUK-LOC V on high-security loads. A lock that CANNOT be shimmed, lost, cut, stolen, or forgotten.
*Dedicated use and teams.
*Electronic door monitoring providing e-mail alerting, online monitoring/reporting, on-demand GPS location, and complete coverage throughout North & Central America.
*Brightly colored and easily distinguishable awareness trucks.
Check out our high security transport page today.