Parking Focus: Defending Drop Lots

In the commercial world, truckers use “drop lots” and unmanned terminals in much the same way an individual will use a parking garage: as somewhere to park for a few hours. Usually unmanned, these lots are popular locations for cargo thieves to strike.

Hiram Grau, Director of Illinois State Police said at the recent National Cargo Theft Summit that “50 percent of all trucking companies will experience cargo theft.” While it sounds shockingly high, cargo theft is often perpetrated by organized crime, which means the attacks at these drop lots are carefully planned, professional and occasionally violent. The annual financial losses are estimated to be in the billions.

“Very professional cargo theft crews use sophisticated tactics and surveillance,” says Ryan Shewchuk, Enterprise Security Director for trucking company Pitt Ohio. “They really do their homework to target cargo — pharmaceuticals, electronics, even if you have a shipment of steaks, you’re at risk. You wouldn’t think they’d want [the steaks], because they have to deal with it before it goes bad. That demonstrates how organized these thieves can be, they can dispose of a whole shipment in that space of time. They have their own supply chain set up, and run it like a business.”

Unsecured or even insubstantially secured drop lots provide opportunities for thieves, who often identify drop lots with malleable security systems. Having identified a target, they may track a driver all the way to a drop lot hundreds of miles away.


A Solution: Electric Guard Dog

As security professionals, it was our challenge to ensure that driver can get into a drop lot safely, and ensure the driver’s safety while inside.

Drivers are often faced with entering these parking locations in the middle of the night, in dark terminals. This is where our technology can come into play. The Electric Guard Dog is a multi-layered electric security fence that can be installed just inside an existing fence system or as a standalone unit. Solar-powered, it is always on and the battery is situated inside the lot, so the thieves cannot cut the power. The fence’s pulsed shock system delivers a safe but memorable shock every 1.3 seconds on contact, which makes it virtually impossible to climb or cut. Attempts to scale or cut the fence will trigger an immediate audible alarm that prompts an immediate call from the company’s 24-hour monitoring station service.

At the gate, the technology provides a variety of options, including a Radio Frequency ID reader; wireless communication at the gate back to a central security hub, where the gate is opened by virtual access, or stoplight s that show the driver that the system is armed, so he or she can disarm it.

“The system is good for mitigating cargo theft because it ensures the perimeter is protected, alarmed to prevent intrusion, and it integrates with other systems we use,” Shewchuk says.



Jack DeMao is CEO of Electric Guard Dog. To learn more about the company and its electric fence product, visit