Cargo Theft Reaches Record High in 2011




Cargo theft rose nearly 9% last year compared to 2010, reaching a record high, according to FreightWatch International — but the average value per theft has fallen.

The U.S. Cargo Theft Report shows that theft rates totaled 974 in 2011, an 8.8% increase from 2010. The average value per theft incident in 2011 was $319,000.

Though the number of thefts is at its highest, the average value per theft has declined. “This shows that shippers and the industry as a whole is beginning to secure their high value cargo more effectively, forcing criminals to target less valuable loads,” says Barry Conlon, CEO of FreightWatch.

One of the most noticeable trends in 2011 was the continued decline in cargo theft incidents
targeting the electronics sector. In 2006, this sector comprised 38% of all recorded supply chain
theft incidents in the United States. In 2011 it recorded just 17%.

The most commonly targeted product types this past year were food and beverage products, electronics and building materials. Specific targeted items include televisions, canned food, cell phones, energy drinks and roofing materials.

A substantial decline in the total value of pharmaceuticals stolen for the year is a significant contributing factor to the overall decrease in the loss value per incident. In previous years, the average loss per pharmaceutical theft averaged between $3.5 million and $4 million, but thefts in 2011 come in at just over a quarter of those figures.

Of the 974 cargo thefts recorded:
– 853 (87.5%) were full‐truckload or container thefts
– 34 (3.4%) were facility burglaries.

2011 also saw a rash of pickups by deception, with 38 recorded for the year, accounting for 4% of all incidents.

The top six states for cargo theft in 2011 were California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Georgia and Illinois.

FreightWatch has been tracking cargo theft rates since 2006.

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