According to CargoNet, a safety firm that specializes in cargo theft, between the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, three thefts a day are reported. That is 26 percent higher than the average rate for the rest of the year.
The types of cargo that are typically targeted are Food and Beverages, Electronics, and Household Goods. During this time, an average of nearly $2 million dollars’ worth of commodities are stolen from cargo during this period of time.
There are some ways that you can help keep yourself safe and prevent cargo theft.
Before we get to those tips there is one cardinal rule to keep in mind if you are in danger or in the process of being burgled: No load is worth your life.
If you are in a position where the ultimatum is your load or your life, do everything in your power to keep yourself safe.
After any kind of incident, whether you were successfully robbed or not, call 911 and fill out a police report, then call and inform your Dispatch and update them accordingly.
There are a few precautions you can take to prevent danger to yourself and your load.
Park in a Well-Lit Location
Any time you are parking somewhere that is not your terminal, make sure that you are parking in the most well-lit space possible.
In many parking lots, the most well-lit areas are also the most heavily monitored with security cameras.
Do Not Tell Anyone about Your Freight and Where You Are Going
Not telling someone about what type of cargo you are carrying is one of the easiest ways to prevent yourself from being targeted for theft.
If a potential thief does not know what you are carrying they are much less likely to attempt to steal your freight.
Similarly, if you tell someone where you are going, they can use that information to steal from you in places that could take hours for help to reach you.
Perform a Pre- and Post-Trip Inspection
Not only are Pre-Trip Inspections DOT required, but it also gives you a chance to make sure that your equipment is safe and has not been tampered with while you were on break.
Additionally, performing a Post-Trip Inspection can benefit you and your equipment in a few ways.
First, if your equipment is damaged at some point between your Trip Inspections you can notify your maintenance department and get the issue addressed before starting your next shift, saving you valuable driving time.
Next, a Post-Trip Inspection gives you a chance to review your parking spot for any security concerns.
Lastly, if you lock up your trailer with a padlock (which is a great extra security level), you can inspect your lock and trailer seal for any damages, which could tell you if you were parked in a dangerous location, or if something might be wrong with your load.
If you notice damages to your seal or padlock, notify your DM immediately.
Have All Truck Information On-Hand
Before you are dispatched from your terminal, make sure that you have your vital information either on hand or memorized.
The most practical information to keep handy is:
- Your Truck VIN Number
- Your Truck License Plate Numbers
- Your Dispatch/Office Phone Numbers
- Your Driver’s License
If you are in a situation where your load is successfully stolen, having this information handy can help the police bring the perpetrators to justice as fast as possible.
Hopefully you are never caught in a situation where your load and equipment are stolen from you and putting these tips in practice can help keep you safe.