Trucking companies can take a number of actions to improve their chances of preventing cargo theft, including using high-tech devices to locate stolen vehicles or low-tech padlocks on trailer doors to deter theft.
What we offer here are four ideas that can go a long way in assisting your fleet in dealing with this growing problem.
Don’t let your drop off locations be known: This may seem like common sense, but truckers may accidentally reveal information to the wrong people. Be careful about what you say regarding your truckload and where you’re taking it. This ranges from CB conversations to social media. If you tell friends and family where you are going, thieves may be able to target you more easily. If thieves are targeting you, you can be sure they are checking your online activity to gather information about your upcoming stops. Keep your drop off locations as secret as possible.
Use technology: There are many great tools these days for GPS tracking that can help determine a stolen vehicle’s location. Geofencing apps send a security alarm if a vehicle travels outside its route. Invest in vehicle immobilization technology to remotely disable a stolen vehicle until it’s recovered.
There are several low-tech devices you can use such as a padlocks, king pin locks, air brake valves, huck bolts, and gladhand locks or seals. These devices will help limit intrusion and are an easy theft deterrent.
Watch for hot theft spots and know your supply chain: According to an article in Overdrive, California reported the most cargo thefts during the year with 158 incidents and a total loss value of $18.7 million. Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey are the other states with high theft rates. Theft is more likely to happen on the weekends while Friday is the most common day.
The most commonly stolen commodities in the U.S. are food and beverage items followed by electronics.
Review your supply chain partners’ security procedures and make sure you know the routes the cargo will be traveling. Having drivers be aware of their surroundings is an important practice, along with training drivers to stay alert and notice whether they are being followed.
When parked, keep trucks locked and in a well-lighted and secure facility. Drivers should be aware of their surroundings even when parked. Train drivers on security practices and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to their safety.
Screen and train employees: Unfortunately, inside cargo theft is a growing problem and can lead to more organized crime. Pre-employment screening of potential hires, including complete background and criminal records checks, will help cut down on hiring dishonest employees. If using independent owner operators make sure they and their employees receive the same background checks.
Drivers should be instructed to avoid discretionary fuel or meals for the first 200 miles after picking up a load. Many times thieves follow the load as they are leaving the yard anticipating the driver will make an early stop.
Cargo theft is preventable when certain training procedures and safety measures are put in place. Your driver’s safety is the most important aspect when out on the road. Make sure you are doing what it takes to ensure safety is a priority.
About the Author: Denise Banks is relationship manager at HNI, a non-traditional insurance and business advisory firm. Her blogs appear on HNI’s blog site at hni.com/blog/author/denise-banks.