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Cargo thefts down slightly from 2011: FreightWatch


There were 940 cargo theft incidents throughout the United States in 2012, a 0.5% decrease from 2011's total, said FreightWatch International (USA) Inc. in a report issued Monday.

This slight decline comes after an 8.3% increase in 2011. According to the report, there was an average of 78.3 cargo theft incidents per month, or 2.6 per day. Of these thefts 760, or 80.9%, were full-truckload or container thefts. The report notes that delayed incident data is expected to continue to flow in over the coming weeks.

The report said a continuing trend is a steady drop in the percentage of electronics thefts compared with the total number. They accounted for 12% of the total in 2012, down from 32% of total thefts in 2007.

Another trend is the continued rise of “deceptive pickups,” which involve stealing the identity of a legitimate cargo carrier in order to broker the transport of the load. The total has risen to 61 in 2012 from eight in 2009, although they still account for only 6.5% of overall cargo theft in 2012.

The report also said metal continues to be a high-risk shipment, with the number of thefts doubling to 130, or 14.9% of the total, in 2012 from 73, or 7.7% of the total, in 2011.

California was hit the hardest among the states in thefts in 2012, followed in descending order by Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Georgia and Illinois. These top six states accounted for 73% of all cargo thefts in 2012, and almost 78% of 2011’s total.

January, March and April were the highest-incident months, and Friday and Saturday the most popular days.

The average value per theft incident was $174,298, down from a peak of $554,105 in 2009. Jewelry and accessories had the highest average value per incident of any product type in 2012, with an average of $425,000 per loss. Food and drink was the product type most often stolen in 2012, accounting for 19% of all cargo thefts.

Register for copies of the report here.