Cargo thefts are a booming business. Organized crime rings plan sophisticated thefts that allow them to steal more than $1 million worth of cargo. They spend a lot of time and effort planning these crimes because the payoff is worth it.
In fact, three men in Miami pulled off a theft in which they swindled cargo filled with seafood worth $1.3 million. In this scenario, they created a fake identity. One of the crooks pretended to be a grocery store buyer. The NBC Miami story explains the suspect contacted a food importer. He identified himself as Brian Gomez and claimed that he represented a supermarket.
The criminal would submit multiple orders. After putting in the order, the importer sent him to a warehouse to pick up the seafood cargo. The importer’s staff finally realized something was fishy (no pun intended) and contacted the grocery store’s corporate office. The grocery store representative told the importer there was no employee named Brian Gomez and the email he used was fake.
The company contacted the Florida Highway (FHW) Safety Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence to open an investigation. The investigators located a tractor-trailer with the seafood cargo and followed them. As soon as the suspects arrived at a facility, the investigators arrested them.
Data Shows Cargo Thefts Are a Booming Business
As previously mentioned, cargo theft gives savvy thieves the opportunity to steal thousands or millions of dollars in cargo quickly. The time it takes to plan a big cargo theft and create phony identities is nothing compared to the payoff. A news report from WJCL 22 indicates cargo theft costs companies and customers $30 billion. What’s more is that these numbers are most likely higher because cargo theft often goes unreported.
In the third quarter of 2021, the average loss value for each reported cargo theft incident was $337,000 according to Sensitech’s U.S. Cargo Theft Report. Not only do companies need to worry about the rising number of cargo thefts but also violent crimes.
FOX News conducted an evaluation of crimes in major cities to discover violent crimes in 2022 have skyrocketed from 5% up to 40% compared to the same timeframe in 2021. The escalation of violent crimes hasn’t gone unnoticed by businesses. Business owners in Portland, Oregon, told KGW8 News they fear for people’s lives. To try to fight back, they’ve established a safety group.
Additionally, the national retail security report from National Retail Federation (NRF) reveals that organized retail crime has grown more complicated and expensive. The industry is also dealing with a rise in the average loss per crime.
Out of all the loss prevention professionals participating in the survey, 80% have put a higher priority on store violence. This is because almost two-thirds reported the pandemic caused a slight or significant increase in workplace violence. More than 50% experienced an upsurge in organized retail crime, internal theft, and cyber-related crimes.
“The increasingly risky environment has repercussions that extend well beyond a company’s bottom line into actual threats against employees and customers,” writes the report’s authors.
Additionally, an organized crime gang in Toronto has been committing violent criminal acts around the city per a CTV News story. Law enforcement has arrested more than 20 people with a connection to tractor-trailer cargo thefts. Their charges include possession of firearms, death threats, as well as stealing vehicles and heating and air conditioning units worth more than $1 million.
“The suspects used violence, intimidation and financial reward to recruit members and commit criminal acts throughout southern Ontario. This group is believed to be responsible for multiple weapons offences, cargo thefts and drug trafficking,” writes a news release.
One creative drug traffic ring was caught for operating commercial businesses to transport illegal drugs. Per Trucknews.com, some of the drugs were hidden in the back of tractor-trailers among legitimate loads of goods. Project Zucaritas, the Spanish word for sugary cereal, was the largest-ever drug bust for the Peel Region Police.
NBC Miami reports on another interesting case in which a Miami-based organized crime ring was discovered as the result of an investigation into theft of semi-trailers and loads of frozen beef. The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigation Omaha found approximately 45 related thefts totaling around $9 million that took place throughout Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Top 5 Solutions to Stop Cargo Theft
Fortunately, these five solutions help deter cargo theft and reduce the risk of violence. It’s important to implement multiple layers for security. These solutions will help provide the layers you need.
1. Prevent internal theft
One of the biggest problems is insider theft because employees know the setup. You can take a step to avert internal crimes by using remote locking devices. Before hiring anyone, conduct a background check. This should be routine for all new employees.
As a backup, consider adding container trackers and locks that can be locked and unlocked remotely. Only a few trusted employees would have access to this.
2. Use hidden tracking devices
Unfortunately, stolen cargo is rarely recovered. The likelihood is low for consumable goods as food and beverage theft is a problem. Insert small tracking devices that are hard to find. These will keep your company posted on the locations of the cargo.
Some shrewd criminals have devices that can render the trackers useless. As you work with a security vendor, ask about these devices and whether they can be turned off by criminals. Other options to consider are high-security rear door locks and air cuff locks. These lock the dashboard brake valves to stop the unapproved movement of the truck and trailer.
If you use seals, randomly change the color of the seals. Experienced criminals can replicate a seal and security devices with a 3D printer.
3. Monitor trailers on the move
The American Journal of Transportation (AJOT) shows cargo theft trends have shifted from on-the-move thefts to storage. While AJOT says on-the-move cargo theft has fallen, there’s a growing number of tractor-trailer thefts. A way to fight back is to use mobile video surveillance on tractor-trailers to monitor the trailers and containers.
4. Add perimeter security
Perimeter security is an effective and affordable way to protect your business and everything around it including the parking area. One way to do this is to put up a fence. This may or may not be possible depending on the business and municipal regulations. It helps create one entry and exit point.
Another valuable perimeter security tool is lighting. In researching lighting options, ask about the type of lighting and where to position them around the property. Some types of lights work better than others. There’s a science to lighting to deter theft. It’s recommended you work with a lighting expert.
You also need to review the landscaping around your business if you have it. This can greatly affect security. Suspects check the landscaping to see if it can give them a place to hide and help them find their way into the building without being seen. It’s equally important to maintain the landscaping because unkempt landscaping blocks views.
5. Add video surveillance with remote monitoring
Most traditional security systems are reactive. This means they don’t act until something has already occurred. As soon as someone discovers a problem, it could be too late. A better option is a video surveillance service with remote monitoring. It’s a proactive security technology that has the ability to deter crimes and damage. It puts eyes on the entire perimeter of your business property.
Remote video surveillance delivers other benefits that do more than help stop crime. Here’s a true story that happened to one of Stealth’s clients. A company’s fleet truck damaged a car during daytime hours. No one on the business property caught it when it happened.
Fortunately, the trained monitoring operator spotted it while watching the security cameras. The monitoring operator could zoom in on the truck to document identifying information including the driver’s face, fleet number, and license plate. Everything the cameras see is saved for later use as evidence.
For the security system to be highly effective in capturing identifying information, it needs to have high-resolution cameras that record and store all footage. You can share these recordings with law enforcement, insurance companies, lawyers, and anyone who needs to review what happened. If someone on the property discovers something took place, contact the security company to pull up the video to determine what happened.
To implement video surveillance, connect with a security company that specializes in security for your industry. They’ll create a plan that puts security cameras in strategic areas around the property. Once it’s up and running, video analytics and trained monitoring operators watch the cameras for problems in real time.
Video analytics scrutinizes the feeds for any one of its many programmed scenarios. As soon as it finds a possible match, it alerts the monitoring operator who responds as needed. It could be issuing a warning on an on-site speaker, calling the police, contacting the company, or a mix.
Stealth Monitoring’s proactive video surveillance technology can maximize security as it provides multiple layers of security as well as full site monitoring and faster emergency response times. You could see an ROI within months while protecting your cargo and employees.
Investing in these five solutions creates a safer and more secure business for your employees, customers, vendors, and visitors. To learn more about video surveillance with monitoring and how it can do more than deter cargo theft, check out the guide to Remote Video Surveillance: More Than Just Catching Criminals. For a customized security plan that fits your requirements and speeds up your security investment, contact us.