This week’s long Thanksgiving holiday may be a time for family and feasting, but it’s also an ideal time for cargo thieves. 

CargoNet cautions that holiday breaks like this week’s create opportunities for crooks to target unattended vehicles, shipments, and warehouses. 

CargoNet’s Command Center analyzed historical crime data from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to the Monday after Thanksgiving for the past five years to help industry professionals mitigate theft risk. CargoNet found:

  • 118 theft events in this analysis period
  • the average value of a stolen was $183,891
  • theft reports were most frequent the Friday after Thanksgiving
  • theft events were most common when the victim parked their property in large parking lots, like that of a big box retailer
  • locations of most frequent were San Bernardino County, California; Cook County, Illinois; Los Angeles County, California and Fulton County, Georgia
  • cargo thieves targeted a wide variety of goods in previous years, but especially targeted shipments of televisions, major appliances, vehicle tires, and alcoholic beverages.

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There are several regional trends that CargoNet’s analysts are most concerned about this upcoming holiday. They include:

  • sophisticated identity fraud and cargo theft schemes targeting truckload shipments of solar panel modules, tree nuts, small appliances, and designer apparel in Southern California.
  • theft of loaded trailers of high-end consumer electronics, apparel, and housewares in Kentucky and neighboring states
  • theft of loaded trailers and containers of building materials, apparel, appliances, and food products in eastern Georgia, southern Georgia, and northeastern Florida.
  • Theft of loaded trailers of food and alcohol, apparel, and other various goods in northeastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, and New York City.

CargoNet has several suggestions on how to combat cargo theft this week. They include:

  • arranging for same-day delivery of short-haul shipments
  • embedding covert tracking devices in shipments and on vehicles
  • using high-security locks.

The company also has advice for drivers:

  • do not leave vehicles or shipments unattended in insecure locations like retail parking lots or truck stops, especially within 250 miles of pickup.
  • if it is necessary to leave property unattended, someone should check on it as frequently as possible. On average, it took about one day for a victim to notice their property had been stolen in this analysis, but this increased to over two days if the property was left unattended the day before Thanksgiving.
  • be on the lookout for any vehicles that appear to be following them from the origin point