Preventing Cargo Theft
Cargo theft is on the rise, and it’s everyone’s problem. Drivers are held primarily responsible, because they’re typically associated with the transport of the load. As a truck driver, you should know there are certain actions that keep you and your cargo safe:
Pick up in well-lit, secure areas
You already know to deliver and drop to secure areas, but picking up loads securely can be just as important. While we don’t often think of the customer as a threat, there are theft rings that specialize in calling for pick-ups at seemingly legitimate businesses, only to hi-jack a load when the driver gets to the location. Think of how many high-end cars you’ve had on that car hauler at one time. That’s one heck of a pay day for a hijacker with a plan.
Do not discuss your load or destination with anyone who doesn’t need to know
Loads are stolen because people have information. Seasoned thieves don’t often hi-jack a random load and hope for the best. Load information is usually sold, or traded by people working with the perpetrators, so don’t give anyone a reason to target your truck. Keep your information on a need-to-know basis.
Always check your seals:
Replacing seals after a theft has become more common, of late. Thieves break the original seal from a load, take what they want, and then replace the original seal with another – betting that the driver isn’t checking the seal number when he gets the bill of lading. Days later, when the theft is finally discovered, you can guess who becomes responsible when the “seal” is broken, and merchandise is missing.
Drive for a minimum of 150 – 200 miles before your first stop
The longer you drive before your first stop, the more likely thieves will abandon their plans. Once you’re out of their zone of knowledge – where the best places are to hide loads until they can be transferred, or where they can park a tractor without being noticed – it becomes more dangerous for them to hi-jack a load.
Use reputable truck stops
Like anywhere else, load info should be kept on a need-to-know basis. This is especially true for truck stops. Not everyone who says they’re a truck driver is one. Trolling for info can be something as simple as asking where the driver is headed, and waiting for the conversation to turn to the type of load being hauled.
Don’t park in abandoned lots
As recent events have proven, predators are everywhere, but even more so when conditions are right. Dark, unsecured areas are not safe for you, or your cargo. There are other aspects of an area that can make it unsafe, but dark areas and lack of security are the big two.
Deliver when the facility is open
Just as waiting for a driver to leave a facility can indicate what type of load they are carrying, and thus whether it is worth stealing, the point of delivery is also indicative of the load being carried. If you show up early, and wait for the facility to open, you can bet hi-jackers have thought of that too. Like you, they’re just waiting. If you deliver when the facility is open, there isn’t an opportunity for thieves to take your cargo before anyone even knows it’s there. You and the cargo are checked into a secure site beyond the reach of the criminally minded.
There are many more ways to keep you and your cargo safe. This list is simply a starting point. Your company should also have information for you regarding your safety, as well as the security of cargo. Don’t hesitate to ask.