Cargo theft risk still high, FreightWatch says; Theft data for June-August

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FreightWatch’s map of cargo theft hot zones, based on recent theft trends.FreightWatch’s map of cargo theft hot zones, based on recent theft trends.

Between June and August, 182 cargo thefts were recorded in the U.S., according to cargo-theft prevention firm FreightWatch International. That’s a 16 percent drop from the prior quarter (March-May), but a small increase from the thefts recorded between April and June.

The average loss value per load also fell 16 percent in the quarter, according to FreightWatch, putting the number at $182,115. That number, however, is also a small increase from the April-June quarter’s$ 174,415.

Moreover, FreightWatch’s report says the risk level for cargo theft in the U.S. remains at “high,” meaning “cargo theft is a common activity, especially in geographical hot spots,” FreightWatch’s report notes. “Targeting by organized crime exists and violence does occur.”

Food/drink loads remained the most stolen, with 34 thefts in the category occurring during the June-August quarter, accounting for 19 percent of the total. Meats, carbonated drinks and mixed food products remained the most targeted types in the category.

Electronics loads jumped to No. 2 with 32 thefts, 18 percent. Televisions, cell phones and audio equipment made up most of the targeted loads. Loads of home/garden products — applianced, bedding, furniture — accounted for 24 thefts, or 13 percent of incidents.

Like most quarters, five states accounted for nearly 70 percent of all thefts: California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Illinois.

California had the most thefts, 36, and made up 20 percent of the total. Florida was second with 19 percent — 34 — of the total thefts. Texas was third with 27 thefts, 15 percent, and Georgia followed with 14 thefts, 8 percent. Illinois’ 13 thefts accounted for 7 percent.

Theft of trailer/container again accounted for a large majority of the thefts, with 153 (84 percent) of the quarter’s thefts coming there.

Facility burglaries made up 6 percent of the total, while deceptive pickups (4 percent) and theft from trailer/container and driver thefts (5 percent combined) made up the rest.

Loads of pharmaceuticals (medication) led the average loss value per load by a wide margin, averaging $2 million. Pharmaceuticals (supplies) had the second highest average loss value at $453,625, followed by loads of alcohol/tobacco ($401,759), personal care products ($339,549) and electronics ($310,262).

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