Cargo thefts decline, but value of losses increases

According to a recent report from FreightWatch International, cargo thefts declined during the second quarter of 2013, but the value of these stolen shipments increased significantly.

The cargo theft trends report recorded a total of 194 thefts in the U.S. during the second quarter with an average loss per incident of $164,594, which represented a 27 percent increase in value and a 12 percent decrease in volume when compared to the same time period last year. It also marked a four percent increase in value and 15 percent decrease in volume over the first quarter of this year.

Six states, including California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey, accounted for 80 percent of all cargo thefts recorded during the quarter.

Cargo thieves predominantly targeted unsecured parking sites, although thefts were also recorded at facilities, secured parking sites and facility interiors. One theft even reportedly occurred in-transit. As usual, incidents involving the theft of a trailer (142) were the most common, according to the report.

The most commonly stolen item was food/drink (60 thefts), which accounted for 31 percent of all thefts reported during the quarter.  Meats, fruits and energy drinks were among the products targeted in this category. The category that suffered the second highest number of thefts was electronics (22 thefts) at 11 percent, followed by building/ industrial materials (19 thefts) at 10 percent.

Despite the fact that cargo thefts targeting electronic merchandise have been on the decline in terms of volume since 2009 and in average value since 2011, the report found that based on historical data (higher rates of electronics thefts in the third and fourth quarters of the year), thefts in 2013 are expected to be higher for this category than in 2012.

“The hearty consumer appetite for new electronic gadgets, including such items as next-generation video game consoles, cell phones or tablets, and bigger and better televisions, typically puts these products in highest demand around their release date. Always savvy to the marketplace, cargo thieves quickly pounce on these newly released products, capitalizing on their ease of sale and the higher prices they command,” the report said.

For more information or to download a copy of the full report, visit