The number cargo thefts in the U.S. fell last year compared to 2013, but the average value of the heists increased.
Cargo theft prevention and recovery service provider CargoNet said there were 844 cargo theft incidents last year, down from 1,098 in 2013. For all of 2014, $89.5 million in stolen cargo in the U.S. was reported to CargoNet. Electronics losses were the costliest, with the average value at $549,539, and totaling more than $42 million for the year.
Cargo was most often stolen from warehouse locations, due in part to a significant amount of fraudulent pickups in the trucking industry. Truck stops were the second most common location, with 130 thefts recorded. In 2014, Georgia recorded the most cargo thefts from truck stops with 26.
A separate report from the logistics security services provider FreightWatch International showed the number of cargo theft was lower last year with 794, a 12-percent decline from 2013. The average value of each theft increased even more to $232,924, a 36-percent increase year-over-year.
The FreightWatch report said theft of high value electronics is the main reason the average loss for cargo thefts increased, due in large part to increased organization and innovation on the part of cargo thieves. One of the main reasons for continued cargo thefts is that cargo crime represents a lucrative criminal enterprise compared with activities yielding similar returns, such as armed bank robbery. Also penalties for cargo theft are modest when compared to other types of non-violent thefts.
In 2014, 87 percent of all thefts with a known location occurred within unsecured parking, most frequently being truck stops, with 42 percent of this total, according to FreightWatch, followed by thefts in public parking areas accounting for 23 percent and thefts at roadside making up a 15-percent share. Also, 90 percent of all cargo thefts in 2014 occurred when the truck was stationary and unattended.
The FreightWatch report also revealed after increasing from 2011 through 2013, the number of cargo theft by fictitious pickups (thieves posing as those who are supposed to pick up freight), fell in 2014 by 18 percent compared to 2013.
The key hot spots for cargo thefts in the U.S. include Florida, followed by California, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey.