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Winter Holiday Cargo Theft Trends and Security Best Practices 2020

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Extended closures during the upcoming holidays bring extended opportunities for cargo thieves to strike. CargoNet examined theft data from December 23 to January 2 from 2015 to 2019 to help businesses mitigate increased theft risks. There were 177 thefts that occurred in the analysis period. December 27 and January 1 were the most common days for thefts, with 24 and 23 reported thefts respectively. There was an average of 35 thefts per season and both Winter 2016 and Winter 2019 recorded above-average levels of theft. The average value of each event was estimated to be $152,653. Thefts were reported in 25 different states and Canadian provinces, but nearly 39% of all thefts in the analysis occurred in Texas or California.

Twenty-seven percent of all cargo thefts recorded involved theft of food and beverage freight. In that category, cargo thieves seemed to prefer stealing shipments of non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, and meat. Eighteen percent of cargo thefts involved theft of a household commodity in which cargo thieves overwhelmingly targeted shipments of furniture. CargoNet also recorded 6 thefts of computer products and 6 thefts of televisions and displays in this analysis.

Businesses should seek to harden themselves against theft this holiday season. Inspect trailers for broken hasps and other signs the trailer's locking hardware could have been recently removed/replaced. Consider investing in high-security trailer locks that require more than common burglary tools to break. Use covert GPS tracking to monitor shipments and make sure the device is not placed close to the trailer doors. Park shipments in secured yards with high-visibility lighting, surveillance cameras, and on-site or remote guarding.

Noteworthy thefts from previous winter holiday.

  • $3,000,000 theft of networking equipment from Dinuba, California
  • $599,559 theft of footwear from Long Beach, California
  • $507,105 theft of tequila from Tampa, Florida
  • $417,000 theft of footwear from Portland, Oregon
  • $400,000 theft of mattresses from Columbia, Maryland

For more information, contact:
Brett Garrison
Edelman (for CargoNet)

View the Complete Winter Holiday Cargo Theft Trends Infographic and Security Tips

Media Contact:

Mary Keller