Cargo theft shows 19% decrease in volume in Q1 2019 vs. Q4 2018

The most prevalent location for large-scale cargo thefts continued to be in unsecured parking areas such as abandoned gas stations, identified in 78% of incidents in which a location type was declared. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

BEVERLY, Mass. — SensiGuard Supply Chair Intelligence Center said Wednesday it recorded 144 cargo thefts in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2019.

The intelligence center is part of SensiGuard Supply Chain.

SensiGuard said 55 of the incidents occurred in January, 33 in February and 56 in March.

The average loss value per incident was $116,717, representing a 19% decrease in volume and a 4% decrease in value from the fourth quarter of 2018.

When compared to the same quarter in 2018, the 2019 data represents a 25% increase in volume and a 1% increase in value.

There was one theft valued at over $1 million — a facility theft of cosmetics in California.

As for theft by product, during the first quarter, the “miscellaneous” product type gained the top spot, the first time that has happened since the beginning of Sensitech data collection in 2006, accounting for 17% of total thefts. “Miscellaneous” thefts were primarily composed of “mixed load” thefts, which is typically mixed freight for big box stores, Sensitech said.

“The rise in popularity of LTL shipments that have driven the “miscellaneous” category illustrates that the organized cargo thief is still targeting lower security and less profitable loads for the limited amount of high target merchandise that is carried within, typically at much lower security when compared to a full truckload of the same product,” the theft report said.

“Miscellaneous” thefts were spread across 13 states, more than any other single product type and was evenly spread, although Texas did log more thefts in that category (16%) than any other state.

“Electronics” was the second-most pilfered category, with just over 15%, while “food and drinks” and “home and garden” tied for third with just under 15% of thefts.

California continued its hold on being the top state for overall cargo theft in the first quarter of 2019 accounting for 25% of total thefts for the quarter. California recorded 33% of its thefts from “electronics” and another 21% from “clothing and shoes.”

Incidents involving theft of full truckload continued to be the most prevalent method of theft during the first quarter of 2019, with 60% of all thefts, and recorded an average loss value of $82,337. Even though it continues to be the most prevalent, the rate of full truckload theft represents a drop of 12% from the fourth quarter of 2018 and a drop of 33% from the first quarter of 2018, while the average value has also dropped by 22% and 32%, respectively.

The most prevalent location for large-scale cargo thefts continued to be in unsecured parking areas, identified in 78% of incidents in which a location type was declared. Only 9% of the thefts in the first quarter occurred in a secured parking area.

The report concluded that as volumes and values continue to change, organized cargo thieves are still shifting tactics to evade capture, as evidenced by the rise in atypical theft types such as “pilferage” and targeting of lower-security product types such as “miscellaneous.”

Dealing with cargo thieves is the proverbial cat and mouse game, the report’s author said.

“As cargo thieves continually adapt to the evolving logistical security landscape, new threats will take shape in the form of new theft methods, and new targeted products in new regions,” the report said. “High value or low security will not be the determining factors in theft risk to cargo as thieves will not be the determining factors in theft risk to cargo as thieves will adjust to the increased risk and modify their efforts accordingly.”









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Lyndon Finney’s publishing career spans over 55 years beginning with a reporter position with the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1965. Since then he’s been a newspaper editor at the Southwest Times Record, served five years as assistant managing editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and from November 2004 through December 2019 served as editor of The Trucker. Between newspaper jobs he spent 14 years as director of communications at Baptist Health, Arkansas’ largest healthcare system. In addition to his publishing career he served for 46 years as organist at Little Rock’s largest Baptist church.
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