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Thanksgiving Holiday Cargo Theft Trends and Security Tips

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and enterprising cargo thieves will seek to exploit the abundance of unattended trailers and warehouses loaded with desirable cargo. Activity is expected to be higher this holiday season than previous years, because publications report consumer confidence is at an 18-year high and shoppers plan to spend more this year than in recent seasons.

CargoNet analyzed data from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving for 2013 to 2017 and found cargo thieves stole $9.4 million in cargo, 79 semitractors, and 95 semitrailers across 108 reported theft events. Twenty percent of theft events in this analysis occurred in California, 14 percent in Texas, and 12 percent in Florida. Cargo thefts were reported in more than 20 states.

According to CargoNet data, thefts were highest on Wednesday, and from the data, it can be seen that many drivers parked their vehicles Wednesday and did not return until after the holiday.

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Warehouses were the most common location type for cargo theft events in this analysis period, followed by business parking lots, such as those of major retailers or hotels, and then truck stops. These three location types represented 58 percent of reported cargo thefts in this analysis.

Twenty-six percent of reported cargo thefts involved a food or beverage commodity; cargo thieves most sought out nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Electronics like televisions, cell phones, and video game consoles were the second most stolen commodity.

Noteworthy thefts from previous Thanksgiving weeks

- Digital Partner -
  • $2,100,000 theft of apparel and accessories from a parking lot in Carson, CA
  • $481,000 theft of liquor from a warehouse in Orlando, FL
  • $441,000 theft of apparel and accessories from a truck stop in Staunton, VA
  • $414,255 theft of footwear from a secured yard in Kearny, NJ
  • $319,150 theft of candy from an unsecured yard in Douglasville, GA

For more information, check out the CargoNet infographic for Thanksgiving cargo theft trends.

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