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With Fewer Cargo Thefts, 2017 Was a Safer Year

January 26, 2018

CargoNet recorded a total of 741 cargo theft events in the U.S. and Canada last year, down from 836 in 2016. Source: CargoNet
CargoNet recorded a total of 741 cargo theft events in the U.S. and Canada last year, down from 836 in 2016. Source: CargoNet

With a decline in reported cargo thefts in 2017, last year was one of the safest years ever recorded by CargoNet.

CargoNet recorded a total of 741 cargo theft events in the U.S. and Canada last year, down from 836 in 2016. CargoNet also recorded 1,479 stolen tractors, trailers, or intermodal chassis and containers in the U.S. and Canada.

The firm attributes the decline in cargo thefts last year to successful law enforcement investigations in 2016. Most of the top five states with the most cargo theft each year showed a decrease last year.

California saw the biggest impact from successful investigations, seeing cargo theft down 32% as a result. Cargo theft in New Jersey decreased 13%. The New Jersey State Police maintains specialized cargo theft units that work with local and county law enforcement agencies.

Food and beverage items made up 22% of all cargo thefts with more than 100 thefts of this type. However, food and beverage thefts decreased as well in 2017, in favor of household items like appliances and tools.

Fridays and weekends were the most common times for cargo thefts to occur.  Theft was most common on Friday at 19% with Saturday and Sunday accounting for 17% and 16%, respectively. In 37% of cases, cargo theft occurred when cargo was left unattended for multiple days without electronic tracking, witnesses, or surveillance to determine when it happened.

Cargo thefts most often occurred at warehouse locations, but those were closely followed by fenced yards. In 2017, 18% of all cargo theft occurred at a fenced yard location.

CargoNet doesn’t believe that this indicates fenced yards were more desirable targets. Rather, it is more common for a yard to be fenced at cargo theft hot spots, such as industrial areas of most major metropolitan areas.

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