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Tackle the Dramatic Rise in Cargo Theft with GPS Tracking

on Sunday, 06 February 2011. Posted in In-Load Cargo Tracking, Commercial Solutions, GPS Trackers

Covert asset tracking is now a viable weapon within the war against cargo theft – but slow deployments are allowing cargo theft to rise in an uncontrolled fashion. Law enforcement agencies across the US and around the world are reporting a startling increase in cargo theft. Here are a few of the key statistics:

  • Worldwide $30-50 billion in cargo is stolen every year, with over half stolen by organized crime
  • In 2009, sources report between 700-900 truckloads worth between $400-500M were stolen in the US alone (FreightWatch International & Chubb Corporation)
  • In Southern California alone during 2009, bandits made off with 29 million (California Highway Patrol)
  • The average loss per theft is $350,000, however some loads can be valued at tens of millions of dollars – such as with pharmaceutical shipments

Unlike the violent cargo thefts of the 1960s, current theft characteristics have shifted significantly:

  • Prime targets are often easily resold consumer goods, electronics, beverages, clothing and cigarettes
  • Loads are often followed from the plant or distribution hub, until opportunity presents itself
  • Thefts are typically non-violent, occurring when truckers are dining or showering, thieves simply wait and watch.
  • Often thieves target drop lots, or when trailers are temporarily uncoupled by drivers running errands
  • Fraudsters use Internet and high tech methods to forge official documents and or establish fictitious companies
  • Trailers are typically found just a few miles from the theft, often repainted or disguised
  • Bribes are frequently used to obtain information on valuable shipments

Research has shown that the reasons for increase in transportation crime include:

  • Spread of global crime syndicates
  • Drug trafficking organizations provide capital, networks and marketing systems for stolen cargo; helping to launder drug monies
  • Smarter criminals are increasing using high technology information techniques
  • Cargo theft often offers low risk, high payoff targets
  • Low rate of successful criminal prosecution and lenient sentences
  • Slow adoption of systems that track and trace merchandise
  • Security weaknesses in intermodal systems and websites that support cargo transportation
  • The lack of effective commercial and law enforcement cargo theft tracking systems
  • Corruption among corporate, boarder and port authorities

To counteract these trends, law enforcement and corporations must aggressively implement prevention techniques, including:

  • Improved locks, seals and containers
  • Truck stop and drop lot operators improve security and technical surveillance
  • Enhanced security within corporate and information sharing networks
  • Cargo security managers must learn and adopt high technology practices
  • Deployment of cargo tracking systems
  • Better training for law enforcement on cargo theft
  • Enhanced cooperation between domestic and international law enforcement agencies

GPSit is proud to be at the forefront of cargo theft prevention technologies with solutions for shippers and owners of high value assets. Wireless GPS covert asset tracking solutions are now viable and commercially available from GPSit in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

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