Follow these guidelines to help avoid being a target of cargo crime.

Combating cargo theft is more important than ever, as the number of thefts and the resulting losses have risen drastically. According to the 2011 U.S. Cargo Theft Report, cargo theft incidents increased by 17% from 2010 to 2011. And it’s estimated that total combined losses resulting from cargo theft surpasses $10 billion annually in the U.S.

Wonder why cargo crimes are so prevalent? Experts believe it’s a mix of high profits with lower risk, since cargo crimes garner less attention in the criminal justice system, as compared to crimes involving drugs or violence.

Even though cargo thefts by way of hijackings and organized crime are on the rise, cargo is at its greatest risk during loading and unloading — often involving a truck driver and a warehouse employee working together.

What can you do to avoid being a target of cargo crime?

  • Adopt a thorough hiring process, which includes conducting background checks and contacting references.
  • Restrict access to shipping and receiving areas, and require workers to display proper identification at all times.
  • Know the names of drivers and others with access to your facility.
  • Secure storage areas with partitions, cages and cabinets. Make sure doors and windows have proper-functioning locks.
  • Never leave merchandise unattended for extended periods of time.
  • Load containers on the same day they are shipped, and unload containers in case of shipping delays.
  • Position a security guard during nights and weekends.
  • Install high-tech deterrents such as GPS/tracking systems, temperature and door monitoring controls, or electronic seals/locks.
  • Install electronic security systems and surveillance, such as motion-sensitive lights and properly-positioned surveillance cameras.
  • Check and maintain your security measures regularly.

The best defense is often a combination of tactics, equipment and awareness practices that make it as difficult as possible to tamper with a shipment at any point in the transportation process.

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