Sensitech warns of heightened cargo theft risk on Thanksgiving

November 24, 2020

Land Line Staff


Industry experts warn that organized cargo theft rings will be extremely active in the coming days, as more shipments are left unattended for extended periods of time due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Sensitech Supply Chain Intelligence Center issued an alert urging truckers to be on their guard with their cargo this weekend.

During Thanksgiving weekends between 2015 and 2019, the Sensitech Supply Chain Intelligence Center recorded just under three thefts per day. That’s a 53% higher rate than throughout the year.

Thanksgiving thefts primarily targeted electronics (23%), miscellaneous (16%) and home and garden (15%).

Sensitech recommends taking safety precautions, such as confirming a receiver’s hours of operation for the holiday and planning for secure parking locations in case a shipment has to be stopped for an extended period of time.

Truck stops, highway rest areas and distribution centers are frequent targets for cargo thieves, and the company says to consider things like controlled access, adequate lighting and surveillance if you have to leave cargo unattended for a time. In addition, they also recommend theft-resistant locking mechanisms and GPS tracking for trailers, if it is available.

The company also recommends covert GPS tracking and active monitoring of high-value shipments as a proven means of both mitigating in-transit theft and successfully recovering stolen products.

Sensitech’s suggested safety practices for the transportation sector include:

  • Verify the authenticity of all shipment related activity – particularly any entity that has been engaged to either move or store a shipment. Driver and business verification, prior to releasing any shipment, is important.
  • Communication between drivers and shippers needs to be firmly established and regularly maintained during shipments. That communication should include driver instruction as to what types of behavior are required and what is not permissible.
  • Truck stops, highway rest areas and distribution centers are frequent targets for cargo thieves. For that reason, any location where cargo would either intentionally or unintentionally come to rest — even for brief periods of time — should be as secure as possible.
  • Things to consider when selecting a secure area or lot are controlled access, adequate lighting, congestion, any type of personal or video surveillance, how long the conveyance will be left unattended, and past intelligence of localized cargo theft activity.
  • If a cargo conveyance must be left unattended for any period of time, it should be made as secure as possible. Theft-resistant locking/sealing mechanisms for tractors, trailers and cargo compartments; disabling technology for the vehicle’s power units or trailer movements; parking vehicles and/or cargo compartments in a fashion that make access as difficult as possible – are all things worthy of strong consideration.
  • If any tracking technology, such as GPS monitoring, that is available for deployment should be used to its fullest extent possible. That would include tracking technology on the power unit, its cargo area (if separate), and within the cargo itself.

Notable thefts over Thanksgiving weekends 2015-19

  • 2015, Louisiana, full truckload of televisions valued at $380,000.
  • 2016, New Jersey, full truckload of footwear valued at $414,000.
  • 2017, Florida, facility theft of spirits valued at $481,000.
  • 2018, California, full truckload of televisions valued at $293,000.
  • 2019, Alabama, full truckload of food and drinks valued at $100,000.
  • 2019, Mississippi, full truckload of home and garden valued at $100,000. LL

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