5 tips to prevent cargo theft (and how to handle someone tailing you)

Updated Dec 31, 2013

cargo-theftWhat are some steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim of cargo theft? And how should you react if you think you’re being tailed? Pulled from a story on Overdrive sister site CCJ, here are a few tips drivers and owner-operators can take to keep their loads secure: 

Use your surroundings to your advantage: Where you park can be key, but by using any buildings, fences or even other trailers where you stop to back up against can make it hard — if not impossible — for cargo thieves to get your trailers doors open. Also, try to park in well-lit, heavily traveled areas of truck stops, like near fuel islands, buildings or restaurants. Also, be on the lookout for security cameras and try to park in their fields of view. 

Watch what you say: The old World War II-era adage about loose lips sinking ships also applies to preventing cargo theft. Be careful about what you say about your load and where you’re taking it. This extends to CB chatter and even to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve been targeted, it’s a safe bet thieves will check your online accounts in an attempt to gather any information about your upcoming stops or your load’s final destination. 

Maintain situational awareness at all times: As targeting of drivers and following them has become more prevalent in recent years, it’s upped the importance that operators maintain awareness of their situation and surroundings, whether the truck is moving or not. This includes noticing whether you’re being followed or tailed. 

If you’re being followed: If you think you’re being tailed, slow down and change lanes to see if the vehicle passes you. You can’t really call the police, because it’s not a crime to follow someone. However, if the car does pass you, try to get their license plate number, if possible. If slowing down doesn’t work and the vehicle continues to follow you, get off at the next exit to see if the vehicle does the same. If you’re confident at this point you’re being followed, contact your fleet for help. Also, find a safe, secure location to park.

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Use a padlock on trailer doors: It may sound simple, obvious and low-tech, but it works. Be sure to use a professional-grade padlock. Also, if your budget allows, you can install security measures like satellite-controlled locking pins on the inside of your trailer doors, huck-bolted door hardware and frames or horizontal pins in the rear trailer bolster to reinforce doors. Also, using a brightly painted undercoating on your trailer can help you spot breaches in the trailer floor.