Cargo theft is one of the issues the trucking industry faces regularly. The problem has become very alarming as it causes $15 to $30 billion direct merchandise loss per year in the U.S, and the number is actually growing every year according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Truck stops and other rest areas are some of the locations most often targeted by thefts. The problem is, with the new ELD regulations where it’s required for truck drivers to stop and take more breaks, there’s a high risk of their cargo being stolen. So, it’s clearly an added stress for truck drivers.
Although you, as a truck driver, wouldn’t know when and how the thieves would strike and steal your cargo, there are some ways to help prevent this from happening. Listed below are 6 tips to avoid being robbed on the road.
1. How Does Cargo Theft Happen?
To be able to prevent cargo theft from happening, you first have to know how it’s happening, where it’s happening, and when it’s happening. You don’t have to be a thief to understand that it’s easier to steal from a stopped vehicle than a moving one. So, whenever you park your truck there’s always a chance that it’s going to be a thief’s next target. Although you wouldn’t know exactly when they will execute their plan, you can at least protect your cargo by not leaving it unattended.
2. Be Aware of What's Happening Around You
Now that you know when most theft occurs, which is whenever there’s a parked truck at stops and rest areas, you can be more careful in choosing a place to park your truck. Pay close attention to if the area is well lit and secured, or if the area is known as a hotspot for cargo thieves, go online and check if the highway robbery rate in a particular area is higher compared to other places. By knowing which areas have a higher potential for crime, you can avoid that certain area even if you have to drive a little longer.
4. Take Advantage of Technology
Although GPS tracking devices are already installed in some ELD systems, it will only track the location of the truck and not the cargo. Cargo thieves are after the goods you’re towing, not your whole truck. Install an alarm system on your truck especially if you think that your truck will be left unattended for long hours. Make sure, though, that you will respond to every alert and that you’re confident that you’re parked in a well-secured place.
5. Ask your employer for training and education
Your employer should be providing you with security training in hijack awareness and prevention. This type of training will teach you how you can protect your truck and your cargo. Take the training seriously as your truck will become less likely to be targeted by cargo thieves if you have knowledge of even the basic principles of security.
6. Prevent cyber cargo theft
With today’s technology, anything can be accessed by anyone – even your company’s most sensitive data such as your pickup and delivery information. And when this happens, it’s very easy for cargo thieves to fake documents and pick up your cargo. To avoid this, your company should have a strong cybersecurity to immediately detect suspicious malware that can be installed on your company’s system. You, on the other hand, should accept your responsibility as the company’s truck driver by identifying carefully who you will be sending your cargo to. Be vigilant and assess possible dangers in every situation.
The trucking industry’s problem with cargo theft seemed endless. Even though many incidents of cargo crime go unreported, still the number of truck drivers being robbed on the highway is increasing every year. As cargo theft takes on many forms, so should your strategy for prevention. Just as thieves are evolving by using more technology, you, as well as your company’s security tactics and training, should also be evolving. This way, all of you in the company – especially you since you’re the one driving the truck and on the front line – have a greater chance of protecting yourselves, the tractor-trailer, cargo, and the customers.