Theft of cargo is big business, and as such will not disappear anytime soon. Any product that travels by transport truck is often seen as easy money for opportunistic thieves who often steal to fill orders from waiting customers who know they can buy discounted stolen merchandise. These customers resell the stolen products providing a willing market for thieves. Sellers of stolen goods are just as guilty as the thieves but are difficult to identify as no one is talking about proceeds of crime. Greed is a powerful motivator driving cargo theft.
Statistics show that household products of all sorts, especially electronics are the most targeted by thieves as huge markets for those items abound. Cargo theft is most common in and around large ports where ships offload goods into warehouses or distribution centres. Thieves employ various tactics to score shipments. Sometimes a truck and trailer loaded with goods is taken. A warehouse employee may be bribed or coerced into identifying a desirable load that may be taken in transit by stealing a truck at a truck stop when the driver parks and leaves the truck for a break. Other times a driver makes a fictitious pickup of a load at a warehouse showing falsified documents to score the goods. Thieves in many cases are organised and sophisticated in their methods.
In many cases theft is so common that it often goes unreported as the loss is absorbed by the shipment’s owner. However, it is not a victimless crime. The shipment’s owner must increase prices to cover losses and fund prevention methods, driving up prices and fueling inflation. Therefore, all consumers suffer at the hands of cargo thieves. The honest people are the ones that pay for cargo theft.
More must be done to combat the thieves from driving away with unauthorised shipments. Closed Circuit cameras mounted in and around a shipping facility can help to prevent thefts by creating fear of capture by would-be thieves. If a theft is perpetrated a video record can be used to identify the thief and give authorities a tool for preventing future crimes.
Checking and recording pickup documents and verifying their authenticity to prevent a theft should always take place before releasing a shipment. Photographing the vehicle making the pickup is a deterrent to identity theft crimes where a thief poses as a legitimate transport driver. Educating shipping employees will gear up your people to watch for scams and pirates. Subject all employees to background checks.
Always notify authorities when you suspect a crime is about to occur. Crime and punishment won’t stop thieves, but it can certainly reduce the efforts of the criminals, and make the environment safer for your employees. Never take matters into your own hands. Remember, criminals are often desperate creatures. They can be dangerous. Good luck in your efforts and above all stay safe.