Wednesday, September 20 2017
Orlando, Fla. — Cargo theft is an important topic in the trucking industry. Nearly every fleet will experience loss of cargo through theft in any given year.
What to do if you become a victim of this type of crime?
• First things first! File an immediate theft report with local authorities. You MUST have a theft report number to help law enforcement prosecute. Once you submit your theft, CargoNet will enter the event into their database for the purpose of supporting law enforcement in their recovery efforts and record for analytical purposes. If the theft details are robust, actionable and timely they will disseminate a theft alert through CargoNet’s Law Enforcement communication platform during normal business hours. Another benefit is the theft event data resides in the CargoNet database; where law enforcement and CargoNet analyst can attempt to match a victim with recovered products. The State of Florida maintains its own cargo theft database called the Electronic Freight Theft Management System. Entering your data into this system helps state and local law enforcement create BOLOs and other timely notification functions.
• Make sure you report the theft to both databases mentioned above in addition to the local crime report. Law enforcement will not do this for you, but it expands your reporting reach internationally.
• It is a good practice to keep photos of your vehicle on file, as well as bills of lading, vehicle value reports, etc. on hand to complete the report and for insurance purposes.
• Remember to include the value of the truck, trailer, cargo, and after-market equipment in the theft report. This helps raise the value of the theft and can make a big difference in the decision to prosecute and also important for your insurance company.
The cargo theft issue is so big, that there is no firm grasp across the country, and the world, on how big cargo theft really is,” said Sam Tucker, CEO of Atlanta-based consulting firm Carrier Risk Solutions. Tucker said many small trucking fleets he interacts with “have no idea about cargo theft or don’t care enough about it because they have not faced cargo theft themselves.”
A few things you can do to prevent this type of illegal activity are:
• Park your trucks away from the highway.
• Always be aware of your surroundings. If you see suspicious people on a cell phone following your truck through a rest area or truck stop, take precautions. It’s highly likely they are planning to steal your load.
• Cases of double- and triple-brokering loads are vulnerable because this introduces more people into the transaction. They may have the details of your route, value, etc.
• Avoid freight holdovers for multiple days. Weekends, or Friday through Sunday are especially dangerous in terms of cargo theft.
• Utilize secured lots as much as possible for rest brakes and overnight parking.
• Always use a locking kingpin with a unique combination/key if possible.
• It is always a good idea to establish a good relationship with local law enforcement in the jurisdictions where you tend to park most frequently, including your home base. Having contact information on hand facilitates the process of reporting.
• Use the latest technologies for load tracking, driver reporting, etc.
• Last but not least, don’t forget to perform a thorough background check on potential hires. You must obtain a criminal history for every position.