California tops the nation as the state with the most cargo thefts, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which recently issued its “2010 National Cargo Theft Report.”
NICB identified 747 cargo thefts across the nation in 2010 with an estimated loss value of $171 million. Cargo theft can occur at anytime and anyplace while goods are in transit between shipper and destination, regardless of transport mode. Although most thefts are from freight moving primarily by truck or rail, intermodal and air freight are susceptible as well, NICB explained.
California recorded 247 cargo theft incidents, followed by Texas (91), Florida (66), Illinois (56), Tennessee (40) and Georgia (39). Electronics were most often the theft target (139 thefts) followed by food (108) and clothing (73). The month of February saw the most thefts with 113 followed by August (78) and June (76).
Through careful review of cargo theft incident data, NICB analysts have identified patterns and locations where most cargo theft occurs. As might be expected, truck stops, parking lots, warehouses and port cities have the most theft activity.
Law enforcement resources are stretched thin in many areas of the country as they address traditional crime groups, leaving little time to address cargo theft, NICB said. Organized criminal enterprises view cargo theft as a low-risk crime with the potential for high profits.
NICB also works with the National Cargo Theft Prevention Task Force. Members of the task force include small and large trucking companies, law enforcement agencies, insurers, self-insurers and manufacturers throughout the U.S. NICB believes strongly that a proactive approach built on a foundation of cooperation can help increase recoveries and deter future theft.
“Cargo theft is not only a property crime that hurts the national economy, it can have a serious impact on public health and safety,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “In one case a load of insulin was stolen and stored at a warehouse while the thieves made arrangements to sell it on the black market. There is no way to know if it was properly refrigerated during storage and unsuspecting consumers may have been at tremendous risk had they used tainted insulin.”
The National Insurance Crime Bureau, headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through information analysis, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. ww.nicb.org.
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