A growing number of Mexican truckers are armoring up their big rigs in order to keep their cargo safe from hijackers.
As cargo thefts in Mexico have doubled from their 2015 rate to more 30 per day, truckers and shippers are desperate to try to deter cartels and gangs, according to a report from Yahoo News.
Even more worrisome than the uptick in armed cargo theft is the frequent target of the thieves. Daniel Portugal of armoring company Diamond Glass says that cargo thieves are now going after drivers rather than just trying to disable the trucks. “These days, they use cars in front to block the road, and then they pull up on both sides. They don’t even try to damage the semi-truck, they go straight for the driver,” he said.
To make matters even worse for Mexican truckers, more and more insurance companies are refusing to cover high profile loads like electronics and designer clothing unless the trucks are equipped to withstand armed cargo theft.
That’s why increasing number of trucking companies are fighting back by armoring their trucks to deter armed cargo theft.
In addition to coating the body of the trucks with steel and adding bulletproof glass, some of the trucks are even being equipped with retractable steps to keep thieves from climbing up. “Their modus operandi is to climb the steps and enter the truck, so we developed a mechanism to retract the steps inside the vehicle when the driver isn’t using them,” said Esteban Hernandez of the Mexican Association of Armored Automakers.
Along with the bulletproofing, armoring companies are also training drivers to “trust the truck” and stay put inside where they are safer.
According to the report, it costs about $27,000 U.S. dollars to armor a semi truck so that it can withstand AK-47 fire.
Violent crime costs the Mexican trucking industry $4.6 billion per year.