Over the past five years there has been a rise in cargo theft incidents reported to the CargoNet Command Center during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. In preparation for the this year’s holiday, CargoNet examined the weekly number of vehicle and cargo theft records from 2015 to 2019. We found that, aside from 2016, theft reports the week of Memorial Day were above the average levels of activity for that year by at least one standard deviation.
The COVID-19 pandemic creates new challenges. CargoNet’s analysts theorize that some cargo theft groups that would have been operating in 2020 were reluctant to, due to less traffic on the road to blend in with. However, all 50 states have eased restrictions and that may translate to more cars on the road this upcoming weekend. Additionally, more trucks will be parked for longer than normal due to the Holiday.
There were 255 records of trucking vehicle and cargo theft in Week 21 (which would include the weekend prior to Memorial Day) and Week 22 (which would include the week of Memorial Day). This is an increase of 21% over theft activity in Week 19 and 20. In this analysis period, the counties with the most theft records were Dallas County, Texas, Cook County, Illinois, Los Angeles County, California, San Bernardino County, California, Miami-Dade County, Florida, respectively. The value of stolen cargo across all records exceeded $26 million.
Truckers can protect their trucks and cargo by avoiding leaving their equipment unattended in high-theft metropolitan areas and by using secured lots with high-visibility lighting, secure fences, and staffed security services. Truckers should also be on the lookout for vehicles following them as they leave warehouses with goods. Contact the local police to report any suspicious situations.