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Cargo thefts in 2011 increased 8.3%


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.

Of the 974 thefts, 853—or 87.5%—involved a complete truckload or container, according to the Austin, Texas-based logistics security agency.

Among major trends was a continued decline in cargo thefts targeting the electronics sector. These accounted for just 17% of incidents last year compared with 38% in 2006, FreightWatch said.

However, the average loss per electronics incident increased 95%, to $998,000 vs. $512,000 per incident in 2010, according to the report.

The top six states for cargo thefts in 2011 were: California, with 254 thefts; Florida, 135; New Jersey, 124; Texas, 104; Georgia, 69; and Illinois, 53. The six states accounted for 75% of all recorded incidents.

The average value per incident continued to decline, to $319,000 in 2011, compared with a 2009 peak of $591,000. August and October of last year recorded the highest number of thefts, with 104 and 98, respectively.

For the second year in a row, food and beverages were the most sought-after product type, accounting for 221, or 23%, of the 974 recorded incidents, followed by electronics.

Experts have said previously that cargo thieves are using increasingly sophisticated scams.