FreightWatch: Cargo theft numbers in 2013 hit all-time high again, threat of theft grows

| March 05, 2014
2013 cargo theft loads

From FreightWatch International (click to enlarge)


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The number of cargo thefts recorded in 2013 tied 2012’s all-time high of 951, according to an annual report released by FreightWatch International this week, who also said in the report that better organization and innovation by thieves continues to push the threat of cargo theft higher. 

An average of 79.25 cargo thefts occurred each month in the U.S. — 2.6 per day. of the 951 total thefts in 2013, 692 were full-truckload or container thefts, FreightWatch reported, and 65 were less-than-truckload thefts. 

2013 cargo theft state

From FreightWatch International (click to enlarge)

Thefts of pharmaceuticals and food/drink loads (excluding acohol) each saw big increases in the year, with pharmaceutical load thefts rising 50 percent and food/drink load thefts climbing 34 percent. 

Particularly, stolen loads of nuts; seafood; candy, cookies and snacks; dairy and eggs; and meat all more than doubled from 2012, spiking 117 percent, 142 percent, 150 percent and 237 percent, respectively. 

Food loads generally have lower security, FreightWatch says, which accounts for some of the uptick, as thieves target the easier-to-nab food/drink loads rather than the harder to obtain electronics loads. 

Food/drink loads in the year accounted for 27 percent of all thefts, followed by electronics loads at 14 percent and home/garden and metal loads at 10 percent each. 

Of stolen electronics loads, televisions and projects were the most targeted, making up 35 percent of stolen loads. Mixed and miscellaneous loads accounted for 17 percent, a desktop computers accounted for 11 percent. Loads of cell phones and accessories were 7 percent. 

2013 cargo theft type

From FreightWatch International (click to enlarge)

Theft of vehicle and load made up 73 percent of all reported thefts in the year, with theft from trailer or container was the second most common type, and deceptive pickup — a form of identity theft — was the third most common type of theft, with 61 incidents in the year.

The average value per stolen load did fall slightly in 2013, down 2 percent to $171,000.

Of all loads stolen, loads of electronics led the way in average value per stolen load at $397,000. Stolen loads of alcohol/tobacco ranked second $280,000, followed by clothing/shoes, $272,000. 

Cargo theft activity hit highs in June and September of last year, but the last quarter of the year was, per trend, the most concentrated of the year.

Nearly half of the thefts occurred on Fridays and Saturdays. 

California, far and away, had the most thefts in 2013, 259, followed by Texas with 123. Florida, Georgia and Illinois rounded out the top five with 113, 71 and 70, respectively. 

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  • jojo

    Could it be that Co OTR Drivers are not allowed to drop their trailers or use personal conveyance because, unknown to them, they are unpaid security for their load?
    Drivers, I hope that you will only make that phone call, nothing more!

  • JJMcClure

    it’s Mexicans

  • jojo

    Thats Right, Blame it on one group of people!
    25yrs ago my WHITE dispatcher was busted for coordinating Cargo Theft from within the company.
    Is it possible that underpaid truck Drivers may have a hand in this?

  • g

    Thats for sure JJ….our prison population is 1/3 illegal aliens…thy are NOT interested in America’s LAWS…they only want “a better life”…and Pronto! They steal the Tires right off ur trailer if you leave it empty and unattended…if there is a Load unattended Kiss it Goodbye.

  • g

    Yes they will steal the tires right off ur trailer too…1/3 of the prison population is illegal aliens..they have NO concern for American Laws….

  • g

    There may be some AMERICANS involved…but it does stand to reason that a DESPERATE illegal alien would be MORE inclined to risk Deportation for THEFT….so many have been deported 5-10 times…its actually a JOKE.

  • Del Ray Johnson

    Yes the theft of driver’s wages is at an all time high!

  • g

    Wages are actually Declining in trucking…each new”RULE” further destroys any chance of a paycheck.
    Plus they hire More cops to chase truckers and rip them off for whats left of their tiny paycheck….basically its a comedy…nobody could take trucking Seriously today. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.