A new bill proposed in Texas seeking to create a law specifically addressing the crime of cargo theft heard testimonials Wednesday, March 18th as the bill moves forward in the State Legislature. Looking to support efforts to decrease cargo theft incidents across the state, Rep. Allen Fletcher filed HB102 in November of 2014 for consideration in the upcoming session. The bill would establish cargo theft as a specific offense and tie fines and punishments to the value of the theft. The bill was read in February and at that time was referred for additional review and legislative action.
Nationally, losses due to cargo theft are estimated to be between $10 billion and $25 billion annually. Texas has traditionally been among the worst states in the country, with rates of cargo and heavy equipment theft—thieves rolling away with anything from semi-trailer trucks full of merchandise to heavy equipment on a flatbed—well above the national average. By the same respect, recovery rates also fall well below the national average.
FreightWatch International, which specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe, publishes quarterly reports compiled from U.S. theft data derived from law enforcement and industry databases. According to their most recent report, Texas had the second-most cargo theft incidents in the country, surpassing California and trailing only Florida in the number of reported cargo theft incidents.
The provisions of the bill addressing felony sanctions are the subject of this analysis. The bill would amend the Texas Penal Code by creating the specific offense of cargo theft. Under the provisions of the bill, cargo theft would be punishable at most felony degrees, with the punishment degree based on the particulars of the offense.
Those wishing to offer testimonials or otherwise provide assistance in supporting the bill can contact the Texas Municipal Police Association at www.tmpa.org.
To review the current bill in its entirety, go tohttp://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/html/HB00102I.htm