The criminal element responsible for cargo theft is more sophisticated than ever. A well-executed cargo theft is pre-planned and highly coordinated. The stolen goods are often moved quickly to a warehouse, off-loaded, repackaged, re-manifested and placed on another vehicle, often before the theft is discovered or reported to law enforcement.
Advances in technology, such as GPS tracking, have improved a fleet manager’s ability to monitor vehicles. Onboard telematics technology significantly improves the vehicle recovery process and may deter a less sophisticated criminal.
6 Steps To Prevent Cargo Theft
- Report. Immediately report all suspicious activity and/or theft to management and law enforcement officials. Criminals can move stolen goods quickly; immediate reporting of theft to law enforcement is critical. Respond to every alarm. Frequent “false alarms,” including attempted entries or break-ins into the facility, may be a sign that suspicious individuals are testing the facility security system and law enforcement response times.
- Managing Information. Do not share information regarding cargo or operations with anyone except those involved in the operation. Limit load information within the facility to parties who have a need to know the information. Maintain inventory control; unusual changes in inventory levels may help to alert when something is awry.
- Knowing Your Supply Chain. Know the carrier and driver that are scheduled to pick-up cargo and verify their identity before a load is released. Monitor delivery schedules and routes, treat suspiciously any overdue shipments or out of route journeys. Review the security of the supply chain partners and know where cargo will stop along its route. Find out if cargo will go directly to the delivery point or be consolidated with other cargo or sit temporarily in another yard.
- Executing Basic Safety Practices. Keep trucks locked and parked in an organized manner on a well-lit facility lot. Ensure that alarm systems are functioning properly and are monitored by a central station that has updated contact information. Ensure the central station is capable of detecting telephone line interruptions, which can be done with a DVAC line or cellular backup. Communicate to driver teams that one person must remain with the vehicle at all times. Review security at the site regularly, and quickly address maintenance and repair items. There are more drivers than security or law enforcement. So get the drivers involved in the business and the need to protect assets.
- Screening Perspective Employees. Often cargo theft is perpetrated with inside help. Rigorous pre-employment screening will help weed out those most likely to steal merchandise from a warehouse, loading dock or truck. After screening, make drivers effective with good security training.
Participate in the Highway Watch program to train drivers to look for suspicious and possibly terrorism- related activities.
There are several organizations that can help combat cargo theft.
- American Society for Industrial Security www.asisonline.org
- Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/import/commercial_enforcement/ctpat/
- Technology Asset Protection Association (TAPA) www.tapaonline.org
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