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Covid-19 Affecting Cargo Theft Trends

North American cargo theft is on the rise this year, and the Covid-19 pandemic caused a spike in cargo crime in April.

April 2020 saw a 107% jump in cargo thefts compared to April 2019, according to CargoNet, which gave an update during its Cargo Theft and Transportation Summit November 10.

There have been 1,080 reported thefts in the US and Canada so far this year, up to Sept. 30.

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“Most occurred within a five-month period,” said Keith Lewis, CargoNet’s vice-president of operations, referring to the height of the initial Covid outbreak in the Spring. Cargo thefts decreased in September, but Lewis anticipates another increase will come in November as holiday shipments ramp up.

Shannon Elliott, crime intelligence analyst with CargoNet, said weekends continue to see a higher rate of theft, as more shipments are left unattended. Most of those weekend thefts aren’t reported for several days, giving thieves a head start to move the stolen cargo and conceal their actions.

“There are a lot of fictitious pickups on Friday afternoons, when people are in a crunch to get their loads moved,” added Lewis.

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Victims are getting better at reporting thefts more quickly, with 26% reporting them the same day and 60% within three days. After seven days, however, “the chances of getting the freight back or your trailer back in tact is very slim,” Lewis warned.

Cargo theft dominated reports, with 613 filed so far this year. Trailer theft rose 49% from 2019 and tractor theft also spiked 18%. Lewis advised fleets to have GPS installed not only on their power units, but also embedded within the cargo. Commodities targeted this year include food and beverage loads, which is typical, with household products on the rise. Elliott attributed this to the shortage of essential items such as toilet paper and paper towels earlier this year…  TruckNews


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