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Cargo theft in the metal industry in the United States has increased 254%, FreightWatch International (USA) Inc. said Monday in a report.
Theft incidents increased from 13 thefts in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 46 incidents in the first quarter of this year, according to the Austin, Texas-based logistics security agency.
Criminals are stealing loads of metal at a rate of 15.3 thefts per month, according to the report. That compares with 6.4 incidents per month in 2011, and 3.75 thefts per month in 2010.
In the report, FreightWatch said the theft of copper and other metals is not unique to the United States, with high rates of incidents reported throughout the Americas, Europe, and Central and Eastern Asia.
“Theft of copper in bulk from the supply chain is occurring around the globe, not to mention the rampant stealing of valuable metals from infrastructure such as power stations, rail lines, and even home exteriors,” FreightWatch said in the report, noting that criminals often resort to extreme measures of violence.
Organizations need to focus on supply chain security as the increasing trend of cargo theft is expected to continue throughout the year and into 2013, FreightWatch said.
“The implementation of stricter controls over its in-transit operations will result in comparable flattening and the eventual decline of theft activity as supply chain security programs become more robust,” FreightWatch said in the report.
Deceptive pickups rise
In separate findings, FreightWatch said that deceptive pickups—where criminals pose as legitimate trucking companies—are increasing, with 11 incidents in 2012 resulting in millions of dollars in losses. That compares with 38 and 29 incidents in 2011 and 2010, respectively, according to FreightWatch's global threat assessment report in March.
“It is critically important that any company trusted with the shipper's goods be properly vetted and verified before being awarded any business,” said Dan Burges, senior director of intelligence for FreightWatch, in a statement.
Cargo thefts in the United States increased 8.3% in 2011 to 974, the highest number on record, FreightWatch International (USA) Inc. said Thursday in a report.