Labor Day Weekend Cargo Theft Trends and Security Tips

To help transportation industry professionals prepare for the upcoming Labor Day holiday, CargoNet®, a Verisk business, analyzed records from the previous five Labor Day holidays. In total, CargoNet recorded 134 events involving cargo theft or theft of a trucking vehicle in the analysis period. Each event was worth an average of $147,027. Activity was highest during last year’s Labor Day holiday and increased 19 percent over the previous year. Nearly half of all events in this analysis took place on the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday before Labor Day.

Electronics – specifically computers, computer parts, and televisions – were the most stolen category of goods in this analysis period. Electronics goods were distantly followed by household commodities such as major appliances, tools, and mixed shipments of household and houseware items.

Theft activity was highest in California, Texas, and Florida. More specifically, theft was most common in San Bernardino County, CA, and was followed by Dallas County, TX, and Los Angeles County, CA. Theft was most common at warehouse locations, followed by retail store parking lots and truck stops.

Emerging Threats to Freight this Holiday

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There are three threats that every transportation professional should be aware of this coming holiday. These are the most common ways that shipments are being stolen currently.

Loaded Intermodal Container Thefts in Savannah Metro Area. On August 18, 2021, CargoNet released a high activity warning to industry members and law enforcement officers about increased theft of loaded containers in the Savannah, GA, area. Thieves have targeted ocean container shipments of seafood, as well as more general goods like furniture, medical supplies, and small appliances.

Loaded Trailer Thefts across the Southeastern United States. CargoNet is tracking a recent increase in theft of loaded semi-trailers across Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Commodities vary but have been focused on expensive and desirable shipments like designer apparel, tobacco, personal care products, computers, and printer ink.

Theft of Computer Electronics Shipments Departing California. CargoNet has been tracking increased targeting of computer electronics shipments across Southern California, Central California, and the Bay Area. Almost all recorded thefts were of shipments that were stolen after the trucker departed a warehouse in Southern California or the Bay Area. Activity has slowed in the past month, but we still consider theft risk to be high.

To defeat identity fraud and cargo theft schemes, we implore organizations that are tendering shipments over the internet to verify details of all transactions prior to accepting a bid. Shippers should warn motor carriers of misdirection theft schemes and verify the intended delivery address with the driver prior to loading.

Security Tips and Best Practices

Organizations can step up security by arranging for same-day delivery of short-haul shipments, embedding covert tracking devices, and by using high-security locks to prevent trailer burglaries. Drivers should not leave their vehicles or shipments unattended, especially within 250 miles of pickup. Drivers should also be on the lookout for any vehicles that appear to be following them.

Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately and contact CargoNet at 888-595-2638 only after law enforcement has been notified and there are no immediate threats to life or property.


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