General Merchandise Shippers Watch Out!

Way back in 2014, I wrote a piece called *‘Stealing less and enjoying it more’. In short, the article cited an 11% volume drop in thefts March 2014 through May 2014 in the USA. Although despite the drop in incidents, the value of goods stolen jumped a whopping 89% per theft. The ‘value-versus incident number imbalance’ meant thieves were getting smarter about the business of intelligent targeting. It seems the selectivity of thieves may be changing at least for the first quarter of 2019.

Thanks to a friend of TJO Cargo Gabrielle Partyka, who is one of the superheroes at Total Distribution Inc. (TDI) of Jacksonville, I was alerted to a new trend in the USA for the first quarter of 2019. I’m not surprised Gabrielle was one up on me, TDI has a far-flung reach in warehousing and truck brokerage operations, and Gabrielle is right in the middle of it. She sourced the information from the online information source **CCJ in a May 16th, 2019 article.

The new numbers on thefts are a 25% increase in theft and only a 1% increase in value as compared to the same period last year. As usual, California is king on theft with Florida and Texas tied for second place. According to a SensiGuard report CCJ cited, the most often targeted freight (17%) for the first quarter was miscellaneous freight shipments most often headed to big box stores. Then electronics at around 15%, with food, drinks, and garden products all tied for third place and just under 15%.

One possible explanation for the flipped script of theft volume versus theft value may be shippers of higher value goods are sick of being punching bags for thieves and have gotten better at security and tracking. With increased security making the higher value shippers more hardened targets for thieves, the thieves may be turning to theft based on the opportunities rather than calculated targeting. This trend is bad news for FAK (Freight All Kinds) shippers whose shipments have been protected largely by the anonymity of not being high value.

Domestic ground shippers and carriers should take the new trend as a red hot alert to pay close attention to, or increase, the security measures in place to prevent theft. By investing in risk mitigation, we are merely refusing to give money to criminals and choosing to spend some of it on denying the criminals their loot. If we do not deny the criminals easy targets by investing in risk mitigation, we will embolden the criminals to steal more only raising our cost of doing business based on a performance metric we cannot control, the criminal’s greed for more.

If you are a shipper and wish to find out simple ways to reduce the chance of your freight ending up at the flea market or on Craigslist, you can read every article I have ever written or reach out to me on simple steps you can take to make your cargo harder to steal.