Cargo thefts across U.S. in 2010 reach estimated loss value of US$171M, with most thefts from freight moving by truck or rail; intermodal, air freight also susceptible: NICB

DES MOINES, Iowa , May 25, 2011 (press release) – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today issued its 2010 National Cargo Theft report. NICB identified 747 cargo thefts across the nation in 2010 with an estimated loss value of $171,000,000. Cargo theft can occur at anytime and anyplace while goods are in transit between shipper and destination, regardless of transport mode. Although most thefts are from freight moving primarily by truck or rail, intermodal and air freight are susceptible as well.

The states with the most cargo theft incidents were: California (247), Texas (91), Florida (66), Illinois (56), Tennessee (40) and Georgia (39). Electronics were most often the theft target (139 thefts) followed by food (108) and clothing (73). The month of February saw the most thefts with 113 followed by August (78) and June (76).

Through careful review of cargo theft incident data, NICB analysts have identified patterns and locations where most cargo theft occurs. As might be expected, truck stops, parking lots, warehouses and port cities have the most theft activity.

Law enforcement resources are stretched thin in many areas of the country as they address traditional crime groups, leaving little time to address cargo theft. Organized criminal enterprises view cargo theft as a low-risk crime with the potential for high profits.

Using the collaborative approach, NICB works with law enforcement and member companies to recover stolen cargo and to dismantle the organized groups perpetrating the thefts. The NICB has special agents deployed in strategic locations throughout the U.S. These special agents are positioned to investigate, respond to calls for assistance and conduct training on cargo theft.

NICB also works with the National Cargo Theft Prevention Task Force. Members of the task force include small and large trucking companies, law enforcement agencies, insurers, self-insurers and manufacturers throughout the U.S. NICB believes strongly that a proactive approach built on a foundation of cooperation can help increase recoveries and deter future theft.

“Cargo theft is not only a property crime that hurts the national economy, it can have a serious impact on public health and safety,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “In one case a load of insulin was stolen and stored at a warehouse while the thieves made arrangements to sell it on the black market. There is no way to know if it was properly refrigerated during storage and unsuspecting consumers may have been at tremendous risk had they used tainted insulin.”

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through information analysis, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $317 billion in insurance premiums in 2010, or approximately 80 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($151 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance.

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