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How can I reduce the likelihood of cargo theft?

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or recommendations regarding a particular practice.

Across the industry, cargo theft is an issue carriers may deal with. Drivers should follow their company's policies and procedures regarding preventing and addressing cargo theft. What we are sharing are some common best practices which carriers may choose to incorporate into their own policies and procedures. 

Tips on Being Prepared 

Map out a safe route which minimizes the number of stops. For long hauls, consider traveling at least 200 miles before a first stop to discourage a thief from following a driver.

Reduce the number of stops along the way by taking care of necessities before arriving at pickup. For example, the driver can arrive well-rested, showered, and fed and with a full tank of fuel. 

Keep important information concerning the tractor and trailer on hand at all times; for example, the VIN, license plate number, trailer number, trailer description, description of load. 

Ways to Be Alert During Transit 

Drivers can practice being aware of their surroundings from pickup until delivery. If a driver feels they are being followed, they can contact the police if they need assistance. The officer might ask for the color, make, and license plate number of vehicles the driver finds suspicious. 

Secure Stops 

Keep an eye out at truck stops in case anyone seems to be loitering. 

Try to park as close as possible to the front of the truck stop, in a well lit area. If security cameras are available, park in plain sight of them if possible.

If resting in the truck, drivers can lock the doors and keep music at a low volume so they can hear if anyone approaches the truck. 

If the load needs to be stored, these are the types of features to think about when looking for a secure parking area: 

  • Fenced or gated yard 
  • Well lit parking area 
  • 24/7 security guard presence with video surveillance  

Parking with the rear doors against a fixed object, such as against a wall, light pole, etc. can minimize access to the trailer. 

Turning off the engine, removing keys, locking doors and windows, activating any onboard security devices or alarms, and securing the tractor with a high-security locking device, such as air-cuff and steering column locks, can help make the tractor harder to steal. 

Securing all trailers (loaded and unloaded) with high-security devices, such as ISO 17712 compliant barrier seals in combination with hardened padlock can help make the trailer harder to steal. King pin locks and a glad hand lock can be useful for unattached trailers.

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