Cargo thefts have seen a steady decline since 2013. More and more trucking companies are consciously addressing the issue by using smarter tactics. Also a strengthened law enforcement in states with large cargo hubs, such as California.  Another reason for the decline is technology. GPS tracking systems in containers and door sensors on containers that send alerts are deterring cargo theft and provide better monitoring of the driver and the truck. Thefts fell 36% in the fourth quarter of 2017. In spite of the downward trend, an estimated $145 million in cargo was still stolen by trucking thieves.

Cargo thefts infography

The rise in e-commerce has proven an advantage against criminals. Since the quick delivery time has changed shipping patterns of manufacturers.  This makes it more difficult to snatch trailers that are left unattended for several days. This is especially high over holiday or extended weekends. Theft of this kind accounted for 37% of cargo thefts in 2017.

An annual report compiled by SensiGuard’s Supply Chain Intelligence Center (SCIC), states that a possible “strategy shift” may be one of the reasons why cargo theft is declining. Criminal organizations work by the ‘risk versus reward’ method. Meaning that they will resort to other methods and products that lessens their risk of failure.

The report also stated that a total of 55% of total recorded theft in 2017 was accounted for by “hot spots” California, Texas, New Jersey, Georgia and Tennessee seeing a spike of 76% and 73% respectively versus 2016.

Avoid cargo thefts

All trucking companies are equally exposed to the risk of cargo theft, so do keep the following tips in mind to help improve the security of your freight:

  • Make sure that the lots you frequent are secure. “Red Zones” are implemented and access from third persons is always being previously authorized.
  • Don’t disclose any details regarding your routes or what has been loaded on to the trailers, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Go the extra mile and make use of the available technology such as tamper detection alarms, electronic security locks and GPS tracking systems.
  • And last but not least, always report any suspicious activity while on the road, and inform your drivers about security protocol updates.


Cargo Thefts Drop as Police, Fleets Fight Back (February 2018). Retrieved from  /Security Bulletins (2018). Took from Cargo theft dropped by 15% in 2017 (February 2018). Retrieved from /Image source