Holiday Cargo Theft Is On The Rise, Here’s How To Prevent It

According to NBC 4 Los Angeles, truckers and warehouse managers are being warned about the risk of cargo theft during this holiday season. NBC 4 spoke to Detective Gerardo Pachula, he spent 14 years working for Cargo CATS, which is a specialized unit within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. He described cargo theft as a “low risk, high reward” crime.

holiday cargo theft

“The bad guys laugh at the system because they don’t get punished severely enough,” Pachuca told NBC 4. He claims to arrest the same suspect “over and over again.”

Pachuca also provided some valuable information for warehouse managers across the United States. He said that there has been a recent surge of “takeover robberies” where suspects tie up guards at distribution centers and then go into the warehouse and find the cargo they want to steal.

NBC 4 referenced a case where surveillance footage showed two men jump a fence at the far end of a warehouse lot. A third burglar then pulled a truck up to the gate of the lot. A 60 year old security guard then exited his security building to engage the trucker, at which point he was tackled by the two hiding men. They duct taped his hands and feet, tied him up and then put a can over his head. They then let their driver in and stole $600,000 worth of merchandise from the warehouse.

This shows why it’s so important for warehouse owners to not only equip their warehouses with security surveillance equipment, but also a professional alarm system. In the case above, even if the criminals had succeeded in hopping the fence, tying up the guard and letting the truck in, a professionally installed alarm system would have been tripped thanks to motion detection sensors, perimeter protection and an alarm system that is directly linked to a 24/7 central monitoring station. With Supreme, warehouse managers can even count on video verification and remote notification via email or the app.

Cargo thefts are becoming more and more common in the US. In 2015 The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) reported a five-year high in cargo incidents in 2015 with a large percentage of growth in freight thefts year over year. The average value per cargo theft incident was about $187,490 in 2015.

According to a study conducted by Cargo Net, there have been two noteworthy Christmas season cargo thefts in New Jersey recently: a $1 million theft of apparel and accessories from a warehouse in Newark and $1 million theft of footwear from Edison. Not only that, but Cargo Net also reports that there are six states in which the majority of all cargo theft incidents occur, and New Jersey is one of them.

Cargo Net broke down cargo thefts in an in-depth research project and they provided us with some information that can be very helpful for all warehouse owners. According to Cargo Net, the top three targeted cargo items are food and beverages; apparel and accessories and electronics. They also provided a list of five important security tips for warehouses, which we have summarized below.

Cargo Net recommends checking to make sure that the entire facility is in good working order. This means checking everything from lighting, back-up generators, alarm systems, surveillance equipment and all fences or barriers. Warehouse owners who opt to entrust security to a professional company like Supreme Security Systems can have periodical tests of their equipment, which ensures that their equipment will always be working properly.

Cargo Net also recommends removing keys from all facility equipment and placing them in a secure location during after hours. They also encourage warehouse managers to never treat any alarm as a “false alarm”. According to Cargo Net, when thieves target warehouses, they tend to trip facility alarm systems multiple times before breaking-in to give law enforcement and facility managers the impression that their alarm system is malfunctioning. And lastly, they recommend asking local police to make routine checks of the facilities during holiday downtime.

The FBI estimates that cargo theft increases 40 percent between Labor Day and Christmas, so if you’re in charge of a warehouse, consider reaching out to a professional security company during this holiday season. Also, keep the tips from Cargo Net in mind. Couple these together and you should have a well rounded warehouse security approach.


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