FreightWatch International Warns of ‘Red Zone’ Cargo Theft

Warning: Two Successful, One Attempted Pharmaceutical Thefts in Florida

FreightWatch International is advising drivers that cargo theft risk increases in the the ‘Red Zone.’

FreightWatch International has defined the Red Zone as the first 200 miles from the shipper’s origin.

In addition, FreightWatch says that over the fourth quarter of this year, they’ve noted an “unusually high rate in violations of best practices for in-transit security.  Over the past few weeks, three FTL thefts have been reported in the Red Zone.

The company recommends “all shippers, 3PLs, and carriers ensure they are following best practices for in-transit security.  Drivers should arrive well-rested (with enough DOT hours for at least four hours of driving) and with properly-fueled tractors (enough to traverse far outside of the Red Zone before stopping).  If your operating model permits, shippers and 3PLs should turn away drivers who cannot exit the Red Zone.  Emergency stops within a Red Zone should be carefully monitored with constant communication between the driver and over-watch service strictly enforced.  Lastly, unattended staging (for any length of time) in the Red Zone should be avoided at all costs.   Should it be the only option, drivers should ensure the conveyance is parked in a well-lit, secured area with the trailer backed to a permanent fixture or natural obstacle, and employ sound technology such as brake locks, fuel cut-offs, and covert GPS tracking with active monitoring.”

According to a September press release from FreightWatch International, the busiest cargo theft season is upon us.

Historically, the fourth quarter sees increase in cargo theft. In 2013, “theft activity concentrated in the fourth quarter with a cumulative 242 incidents” during the fourth quarter, FreightWatch reported.

Cargo theft begins to rise late in September, just before the holiday shipping season.

“Additionally, the United States has seen a significant rise in driver theft incidents, which involve either direct theft by the driver, the driver’s voluntary collusion or complicity in the crime, or a deceptive criminal posing as a legitimate carrier resource,” FreightWatch states.

In 2013, driver-related cargo theft reached an all-time high, with a 76% increase over the previous year and a 389% increase over 2011.

Freight Watch recommends that trucking professionals take extra precautions to secure cargo, including reviewing safety protocols and making sure they’re comprehensive and up to date.

“Also, in order to mitigate criminal’s attempts to exploit cargo at rest, double check that receiver’s hours of operation for the holiday weekend are consistent with scheduled delivery times. If available, covert tracking and active monitoring of high value shipments is highly recommended recommended as it has proven to be the most effective protocol to mitigate in-transit theft,” FreightWatch advises.