Cargo Thefts Shift from Electronics to Food

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a shift in the freight and warehouse theft patterns, with the cargo of choice shifting from electronic goods to food, beverages and medical supplies, due to the high demand and rise in value.

According to a report by international freight transport insurer TT Club and business improvement company BSI, during lockdowns food prices spiked due to disruptions in production and transportation and individuals stockpiled food due to lockdowns. In the second quarter of this year, thieves more frequently stole food and beverage products and medical supplies, a shift from the incidents recorded in the first quarter involving thieves targeting electronic products.

“The increase in the value of food may explain the increase in theft during Q2 2020 when lockdowns occurred. On a similar note, medical supplies, which can include test kits, hand sanitizers, respirators, and personal protective equipment, were a high-value commodity during the Covid-19 outbreak,” the report states.

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Also, likely due in part to Covid-19 restrictions, the strategies employed by thieves shifted slightly from the historical prevalence of violent hijackings to increased incidents of theft from warehouses, depots, and other facilities.

Restrictions prohibited free movement, for example, but the threat of cargo thefts increasingly involved cargo trucks left unattended overnight and facilities, like warehouses and depots. What has not changed, though, is that SA remained a top hotspot for cargo crime and accompanying violence, as well as the ingenuity of those involved, the underpinning motivations, and the lengths that they are prepared to go to avoid capture… The Citizen

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