Cargo theft to rise this year after 2014 slowdown, FreightWatch says

Based on its annual analysis of cargo theft activity, FreightWatch International (FWI) predicts the risk of cargo theft will increase slightly in 2015 versus 2014, many because cargo thieves continue to adopt what the firm describes “professional and sophisticated” tactics.

“Although the total number of verified incidents decreased by 12%, the threat of cargo theft continues to grow in the U.S. due to increased organization and innovation on the part of cargo thieves,” FWI said in its Annual Cargo Theft Report for 2014.

“This evolution is illustrated by the 36% rise in average value [of cargo thefts] which suggests organized thieves offset the lack of access to a high quantity of shipments by targeting higher value merchandise,” the firm added.

FWI recorded 794 cargo thefts throughout the U.S. in 2014, with the average value per theft reaching $232,924 – a 36% increase in value over 2013 – which translates into an average of 66 cargo thefts per month or 2.2 per day.

The firm noted that while the “opportunistic” modus operandi (M.O.) is still the more prevalent tactic used by cargo thieves in the U.S. market, there continues to be a “global shift” towards more professional and targeted activity.

“We have observed a global trend that this activity is a forerunner to organized criminals embedding themselves and their organizations deeper into cargo theft activities,” FWI said. “This resilient commitment is commonly a precursor to an escalation in risk – both in severity and frequency of attacks over time – and depending on conditions, can increase the likelihood of violence.”

FWI stressed that the U.S. “still enjoys” a relatively low level of cargo theft-related aggression and criminal sophistication compared to similar countries in Europe.

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