More Cargo Thieves are Getting Caught – Some Red Handed

CargoNet recently reported an 8 percent drop in cargo theft in the United States and Canada in the third quarter with the total loss value dropping nearly 17 percent when compared with the same period a year ago. CargoNet, a national database established by ISO and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, keeps track of cargo thefts and provides statistics to trucking companies, insurance companies and law enforcement.

The cargo theft rate declined across the United States and Canada even though there was a significant jump in the theft of building materials, particularly in Texas. CargoNet reported that for the third quarter ending Sept. 30, there were 197 reported cargo thefts with a loss value of $21.4 million. As for the jump in the theft of building materials, particularly in the Lone Star State, CargoNet suggests that the impact of Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas in August may have contributed to that increase.

In a report in Transport Topics, Scott Cornell, a transportation business lead and crime and theft specialist with Travelers, credited several reasons for the decline across the United States and Canada including joint efforts by law enforcement and the private sector to fight the problem. Since 2016, significant arrests in California, Georgia and Illinois, where active cargo theft task forces have been established, have also impacted the theft rates, Cornell noted. CargoNet’s analysis also found that technology solutions such as driver facing cameras or dash cams, tracking devices, trailer door sensors and high-security trailer locks can greatly increase the chance of a successful recovery or arrest.

While those numbers are certainly encouraging, we imagine they were probably little conciliation to the Village of Elmwood Place Public Works employee who was hanging Christmas lights when someone stole the utility truck with the employee still in the bucket. Following a short chase, police used stop sticks to flatten the truck’s tires. They have charged the alleged thief with kidnapping, theft of a motor vehicle and failure to comply with a police officer.