Cargo thefts down 19 percent in 2018

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Cargo thefts were down 19 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. California accounted for 26 percent of total thefts.Cargo thefts were down 19 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. California accounted for 26 percent of total thefts.

Cargo thefts across the United States were down 19 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, along with a 2 percent decrease in theft values, according to a report from cargo theft recording firm SensiGuard.

The firm recorded a total of 592 cargo thefts in the U.S. last year worth an average of $142,342. The fourth quarter was the most active for thieves with 171 thefts, compared to 159 thefts in the third quarter, 145 in the second quarter and 117 in the first quarter.

SensiGuard warns that despite the drop in volume last year, the rate at which it is dropping is slowing, and organized cargo thieves in the U.S. still present a threat to highly-targeted shipments.

For the first time since 2009, electronics were the most-stolen product type throughout the year, accounting for 20 percent of all thefts. Electronics thefts rose 33 percent from 2017, overtaking food and drinks and home and garden products for the top spot. Home and garden products, which were the most-stolen in 2017, ranked second in 2018 with 16 percent of total thefts.

In 2018, there was only one theft valued at $1 million or more compared to 18 such thefts in 2017. SensiGuard says barring new theft methods or trends, the overall annual theft value will continue to hover around $140,000 to $160,000.

Full truckload thefts accounted for the most thefts by event type at 74 percent of all cargo thefts. Pilferage accounted for 18 percent of cargo thefts, followed by 4 percent for facility thefts and 3 percent for fictitious pickups.

California was home to the most reported thefts in 2018, accounting for 26 percent of total thefts for the year, despite having a 9 percent drop in thefts compared to 2017. Texas claimed the second spot with 15 percent of total thefts, followed by Florida with 11 percent. Illinois saw a sharp 72 percent increase in theft rate and rose from sixth overall in 2017 to fourth in 2018 with 10 percent of the total. Georgia rounded out the top five with 8 percent of thefts, a 10 percent decrease from the previous year.