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Crack Down on Cargo Theft with Situational Awareness

Commercial truck drivers look forward to good meals, warm showers and rest at truck stops after arduous days on the road. But this much-needed period of relaxation can quickly turn stressful for victims of cargo theft.

Driver downtime far too often results in downtime for truck and trailer security too. It only takes a few minutes away from your trailer to become a victim of cargo theft, which is why it’s important to take preliminary steps to protect your payload.

Although it’s impossible to safeguard your trailer from every threat, risk mitigation can vastly reduce the chances of a theft occurring. Brian Runnels, director of safety at Reliance Partners, explained that the sharpest tool in the fight against theft is relying on your instincts.

“The best way for drivers to protect themselves and their cargo is to always pay attention to where you are, what’s going on around you and ask yourself if your parking arrangement is as safe as you can make it,” Runnels said.

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Runnels warns drivers to be especially careful this Columbus Day as extended weekends are notorious for upticks in cargo theft activity. Memorial Day cargo theft data showed that the average loss due to cargo theft incidents over a two-week span in May was estimated to be $211,788, according to CargoNet. The period’s 255 reported theft incidents combined to total $26,473,597 in damages.

But these estimates may very well be higher in actuality. Travelers Transportation Lead Crime and Theft Specialist Scott Cornell asserted that cargo theft figures are gathered on a voluntary reporting basis by companies like CargoNet in what he described as “man-on-the-street polls.”

“When you see cargo theft numbers in Texas up 210% year-over year, some of that could just be increased reporting,” Cornell said. “However, when you have a number that significant, you can almost bet that there’s an increase in theft.”

Cornell noted that cargo theft has spiked on a macro level, especially in hot spot states like Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia and California — the most targeted state. He explained that these states are at constant risk because of their large economies with high-population densities in addition to their proximity to major ports…  FreightWaves

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