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What Can Be Done About Growing Warehouse and Storage Facilities Cargo Theft?

Posted by Blake Mitchell on Jun 29, 2022

It’s starting to sound like a broken record. But yes, the supply chain is to blame for many problems including cargo theft at storage facilities. The American Journal of Transportation (AJOT) states cargo theft trends have shifted from in-transit, vehicle-based thefts to at-rest situations such as warehouses and storage facilities. Cargo theft in storage facilities soared to almost 30%. There’s also an increase in insider infiltration into operator organizations like warehouse facilities.

Part of the problem is companies leaving their cargo sitting around for a longer time than they did before COVID. An interview in Canadian Underwriter explains.

“When you have more [cargo] that’s sitting around, that’s going to increase that level of concern around cargo theft because you just know that there’s more of it to target,” says Scott Cornell, national practice leader of transportation with Travelers’ inland marine division. “Keep in mind, too, the more that’s sitting around, the harder it is to predict where they’re going to go to steal it.”

Cornell says thieves have more opportunities to steal because companies spread out their cargo. In doing so, companies fail to take steps to protect all their cargo. Port congestion and rail delays also play a large role in these thefts. The massive increase in cargo shipment also causes problems.

In 2021, the Port of Los Angeles surpassed its previous cargo record of 13% in 2018. There’s an irony here. The brittle supply chain drove the Port to create more efficient operations. This led to a pile-up of cargo because there were no trucks to pick up the cargo. That’s because of the truck driver shortage. Therefore, places like ports and warehouses are storing extra cargo at storage facilities.

For the same reason, warehouses are finding they keep more cargo on hand. With the shortage of drivers, they can’t get the cargo shipped out fast enough. Organized crime gangs know what’s happening and take advantage of both scenarios.

Warehouse and storage facilities do not have enough security layers to protect themselves from cargo theft. Warehouses are risking losing expensive assets that cannot be replaced quickly or for the same price. Thanks to inflation, it costs more to replace stolen goods. Therefore, it’s critical to prevent cargo theft from happening.

Anytime cargo theft occurs at a storage facility, the business is putting its reputation at risk. If clients learn their storage unit has been raided or the facility has been robbed, then they will move their cargo elsewhere. Fortunately, storage facilities can take action to reduce the chances of cargo theft.

How to Help Prevent Cargo Theft at Warehouse and Storage Facilities

Recall AJOT’s mentioning that cargo theft trend has changed from “on the move” to facilities. While hijackings have fallen, the theft of containers and trailers has climbed. Cargo theft data from TT Club in the U.S. shows that thieves targeted storage facilities in 45% of the reported cases of cargo theft.

Stopping cargo theft requires education, efficient processes and procedures, and technology. Here are the four things warehouses and storage facilities can do to lower their risk of cargo theft. The first two apply to both warehouses and storage facilities. The last one applies to warehouses and is important.

1. Implement Remote Video Surveillance

Video surveillance systems with remote monitoring can watch over the entire perimeter of your warehouse or storage facility. Unlike traditional security and alarm systems, remote video surveillance takes a proactive approach to security and can help avert crime.

Security specialists will do an evaluation of your property to identify the strategic locations to install security cameras. These cameras can go up around the perimeter where cargo is stored and places where people come and go, as well as the parking areas.

For the video surveillance system to be effective and make out identifying information, it needs to use high-resolution cameras that record and save everything. These recordings can be shared with law enforcement, lawyers, insurance companies, and anyone who needs proof of what happened. If employees find out something happened long after the fact or that took place during non-monitoring hours, you can have video analysts search the videos to piece together what happened.

Recall that one of the biggest drivers of cargo theft is that the cargo is spread out. Sometimes, they’re not in secure areas. Video surveillance with remote monitoring can help close this security gap. The cameras can monitor all cargo, comings and goings, and your important assets.

Video surveillance with remote monitoring) can do more than deter crime. In this storage facility security video, two trespassers with tools enter the facility. One walks further while the other acts as a lookout.

Before the crooks breached the facility, the trained monitoring operator called the police. The police arrived on the scene while the security professional was still on the call with the emergency operator. It turned out there were three people on the property and law enforcement arrested the trio.

Cameras act as a psychological deterrent to criminal activity and cargo theft. After installing the surveillance cameras and turning on monitoring, post “Area under surveillance” signs around the property. This stops some crooks, but not all. Not to mention security cameras can’t and shouldn’t work alone. It could become a liability issue if no one watches the cameras.

Storage facilities have specific, complex security needs to protect people and their things, some of which are irreplaceable. The most powerful and effective video surveillance system integrates high-quality security cameras with video analytics and trained monitoring operators. This partnership of video analytics and human operators helps increase the chances of catching something suspicious before anything happens.

2. Add an Access Control System

Simply put, access control systems control who has access. The system grants and revokes access to locations and resources. Old methods of access may not work anymore because they’re not contactless. Modern access control systems don’t require swiping badges or entering PINs.

Access control systems are scalable, customizable, and flexible. Cloud-based access control makes it possible. In the past, if someone needed temporary access to the building, you’d have to call ahead and request access.

Now, you can do it on the spot. The visitor would contact the person who provides access or walk up to the front doors of the building and talk to someone on camera. Once the information is confirmed, the employee or operator talking to the visitor can use their own phone or computer to grant access. It doesn’t matter where the operator is located. The cloud allows for managing access from anywhere.

Cloud-based access control systems that integrate video surveillance can also watch for potential security breaches and monitor events in real-time. Some access control systems can grant access based on a time limit or scheduled unlocks. Security cameras put eyes on the people entering the property. The operators watching the cameras can provide access without being in the same facility or same city.

A valuable feature to have on your integrated security system is the system health check. It checks the health of your security system to confirm it’s working or to potentially fix it before it becomes a problem.

3. Create Processes and Procedures for Cargo Management

You may already have policies and procedures in place to manage cargo. However, it does not guarantee that everyone is following the procedures. That’s why it’s important to do random process checks and self-audits. Look for gaps and vulnerabilities. Video surveillance can help catch these lapses in security.

Additionally, it’s important to conduct regular employee training on processes. They should also receive regular training on security protocols. One thing to have in your process, if not already, is to do background checks on all employees and drivers. It’s also worth investing in a system to help you accurately track shipments. This system can keep track of approved truck drivers.

With the right security technologies, you could obtain a fast return on your investment. It will help maximize security for storage facilities and warehouses while reducing liability. The tenuous supply chain, skyrocketing cargo thefts, and inflation more than justify the need for security to protect your cargo, your assets, and your employees.

Benefits of Video Surveillance for Warehouse and Storage Facilities

Security is essential at storage and warehouse facilities. They affect whether someone will break into your business. Stealth Monitoring’s proactive remote video surveillance does more than help protect your storage facility or warehouse. It’s a critical function when you’re protecting your customers’ most precious possessions and need to limit exposure to premises liability. Warehouses need to avoid a hit on their inventory. Otherwise, there could be a domino effect on your business between inflation and supply chain problems.

The most effective warehouse and storage facility security consists of remote video surveillance with monitoring that combines video analytics and human intelligence and integrates an access control system. Security cameras, video analytics, trained operators located away from your property, and an access control system helps deter cargo theft while minimizing damage from fires, severe weather, and other threats.

Best of all, the video surveillance system and the monitoring service only cost a fraction of what it would cost to hire security guards. Thus, you could see a quick ROI.

To learn more about video surveillance with monitoring, check out this guide to Remote Video Surveillance: More Than Just Catching Criminals. For a customized security technology that fits your budget and maximizes your ROI, contact us.